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Thread: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

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    New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    First off, opened the pool in April and installed a new pool liner at the same time.

    Since then we've been constantly fighting algae. Here are the specifics:

    - In ground chlorine vinyl pool "octagon" shape about 20/30 feet by 10/12 feet (I know..i need to measure the dang thing) and its 6ft at the deepest, built probably in the late 1980s
    - sand filter, multiport valve, rainbow 320 chlorinator, pentair pump strainer/basket
    - currently using 'in the swim' 3" tabs & baking soda for chemicals (although just bought a tub of arm & hammer 3" pool tablets)
    - pool is in middle TN and lots of trees around it so it gets 1/2 in the shade by 3pm but probably only a small handful of leaves in the bottom daily. i can net it and clean the skimmer once every other day and that doesn't get out of control.
    - pump has been running constantly since April 24/7

    so through a PAINFUL learning process, i've discovered the pentair pump basket was old/brittle and was breaking off (and allowing small stones) to pass into my impeller. i've finally learned how to take that apart, clean it and get it going (the green stuff coming out of my pool jets afterward told me all i needed to know about the fact the impeller wasn't running.

    solution: bought new pump basket and threw the old one out.

    second problem; i wasn't properly loading the chlorinator; tabs weren't melting. finally watched a youtube vid & realized i wasn't letting the water fill up before putting the lid on so the tabs were just hanging out not getting into the water.

    solution: finally learned how to 'open' the chlorinator and feed tabs (i always have 3-4 in it) and see them melt. also for good measure bought a new little black screen (one i had was kaput) so the tabs sit on top of it.

    third problem; wasn't properly backwashing and the gauge is broken so i cant see pressure.

    solution: learned how to properly backwash and ordered new gauge (but hasn't arrived yet)

    So, here's where I am:

    - pool looks more clear/blue than ever..but gets green on vinyl EVERY DAY and i have to brush it off and it comes right back
    - FC seems to be a bit high..in the 2-4ppm range but i'm so afraid of the algae taking over again i'm keeping it too high i think
    - just about out of shock..i think i misused it by only putting a small amount (one scoop) in just to 'help out'. clearly i know nothing here.
    - alkalinity is on point.
    - PH is low..in the 5 range and i've emptied the last of my arm & hammer into the pool so i need to pick some up to get it back to 7

    what are your suggestions to get on top of this? I'm trying not to leech off the community here and figure this out on my own, but I need to know what the best algaicide or technique to keep the pool up. I'm looking at the reviews on amazon for HTH "green to blue" and coral seas "green to clean" but don't want to waste money getting the wrong thing and extending the algae problem.

    pool came with a broken polaris 340 (old model) and a vacuum hose too short for the pool so i've ordered a 'kreepy krawler' generic vac to help with the pool.

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    I'm trying not to leech off the community here and figure this out on my own.

    Wrong approach. Trust me from someone who's tried to go it alone for way too long. The community here seems more than happy to assist.

    My recommendation, get ready to learn and be open to it.

    I will defer to the senior members, but I do know that you are going to need to SLAM your pool (add a lot of bleach) to bring your chlorine levels up.

    First though, your PH needs to be in range 7.2 - 7.5 in order for chlorine to be most effective. This is probably why algae is growing even though you have chlorine in your pool, your PH is way off. All these numbers matter in some way (some more than others).

    If you're trying to kill algae (this is what you're trying to do) then you're going to need a higher than normal free chlorine level. 2-4 isn't high. That may (or may not) be enough to maintain a clean pool, but doesn't really sound like enough to kill that algae.

    Yes, I believe under using shock defeats the purpose.

    So my advice, get your PH in order, then go through the SLAM process.

    WHat's your CYA level? Do you have a good test kit?

    Check out articles on the Pool School pages, and read the how to SLAM.

    These forums will tell you to avoid algaecides or special clarifies or "products" from the pool store, because following the recommended process makes them unnecessary and you don't really want all the extra ingredients added to your pool water.
    Odd shaped "sport" style pool, in-ground, plaster. ~13-15k (hard to get accurate estimate due to shape). Cartridge filters (hayward). SWG.
    Taylor K-1005 Test Kit

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    don't waste any money on pool store chemicals. you need to get a real test kit, see my signature for details. and you need to SLAM your pool. for now you can start adding bleach to get to 5ppm. your chlorine level is based on your CYA level, which you need the test kit to determine. 2-4ppm could be really really low if you have a lot of stabilizer in the pool. if you have used chlorine pucks or powdered shock, those have added a lot of stabilizer.

    read up in pool school and keep asking questions!

    but first get the test kit! once you get that we can get you started on the SLAM process. you can keep raising your pH between now and then. aim for 7.5.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    Quote Originally Posted by DaninFLA View Post
    don't waste any money on pool store chemicals. you need to get a real test kit, see my signature for details. and you need to SLAM your pool. for now you can start adding bleach to get to 5ppm. your chlorine level is based on your CYA level, which you need the test kit to determine. 2-4ppm could be really really low if you have a lot of stabilizer in the pool. if you have used chlorine pucks or powdered shock, those have added a lot of stabilizer.

    read up in pool school and keep asking questions!

    but first get the test kit! once you get that we can get you started on the SLAM process. you can keep raising your pH between now and then. aim for 7.5.

    thanks! i have a kit..i think its taylor..in a blue case. i do the drop test (5 drops of 001 to get the FC) and the other side is PH. The alkalinity is a special little clear tube that you put 25mg of water in. i don't know the name of the kit but i do know you 'swirl' the drops in the green until it turns red and mine turned red at 5 instead of 7.

    i'll check out the pool school..you've already helped! i was thinking of buying a algaecide but maybe i'll just try to get it under control with the chlorine.

    are the tabs not the way to go to get chlorine into it?

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    does your test kit included CYA/stabilizer? that's critical.

    you don't want to use tabs, they add CYA along with Chlorine and eventually your CYA level gets so high you can add enough chlorine to fight algae. see the CYA/FC link in my signature.

    there is no way to know your correct FC without knowing your CYA

    - - - Updated - - -

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by nyvram View Post
    but maybe i'll just try to get it under control with the chlorine.
    well you came here for help, and what we are telling you will work 100% of the time if you follow the SLAM instructions to a tee and are patient and follow it though. if you want to fix your pool, you need to know CYA accurately and then follow the SLAM. its up to you, you can follow the TFP method or you can follow the pool store's advice. but don't try and combine the two. its either one or the other, only you can make that decision
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    i read the SLAM page..still a bit confused about understanding how much bleach to add but i clearly need to know how much water my pool contains and also check for that test you mentioned.

    i don't put any stock in pool store advice; i joined here because i feel like y'all will cut through the noise and not try to sell me on something I dont need.

    As for using liquid chlorine, are you saying to just stock up on a bunch of gallons and ignore the auto chlorinator entirely?

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    exactly. stock up on bleach, the 8.25% stuff they sell. most people on here say that the Walmart brand bleach is the best value. definitely need to figure out your pool volume. post up dimensions/pictures if you need help.

    wasn't trying to be rude, but people tend to be apprehensive, even though the TFP method works and is the cheapest way to manage your pool.

    the SLAM is a lot, I get that, but if you follow it through it works and then if you maintain your FC per the TFP method, you will never need to do it again. cant do that without knowing your CYA levels. its critical to the entire TFP process.

    when you can check, get the name of your taylor kit. is it the 2005 or 2006? need to confirm its the right one that includes the FAS/DPD test

    if you have everything but just need the CYA test, you can purchase is separately for $17: TFTestkits.net
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    thanks again! last question..you said the "tf100" kit contains the very useful "OTO" test. however i am having trouble finding where that test is referenced in any of the pool school pages (i might have just missed it) and what that is useful for.

    sorry for all the questions and not having all the answers; 'inheriting' a used pool that wasn't properly maintained has been a challenge. half my time is spent finding broken things (pump basket, chlorine screen, pool hoses, vacuum, pressure gauge, clogged impeller) and fixing them as much as trying to become a zen-master at keeping my pool happy.

    i sure wish i didnt have a big tub of chlorine tabs now.

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    The OTO test is found to be useful for day to day testing. As long as your daily FC level is one that is testable by that comparator.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    ok i lied..3 more questions:

    1. how do you purchase "DE"? is it safe (using the method in the pool guide) to simply add it a bit at a time to my sand filter? I just take the top off the pump basket and pour it into that and restart my pump? Just watch the gauge? is there a downside to adding this DE thing to your sand filter?

    2. you say you can add "CYA" to your pool..but how do you buy it? is there a CYA product?

    3. how difficult is it to install an automated timer for my pump? my electric bills have been outrageous the last 2 months and i know its the pump so even at $75-$100 for a timer its worth it. right now i have a circuit breaker that i have to flip on and off to start/stop the pump.

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    1)DE can be purchased at most any diy type store that has pool stuff. Just make sure it's the one for pools. You might check around the neighborhood if somebody has a DE filter they might borrow you coffee can full.

    2)CYA is otherwise known as conditioner. can be bought at any big box store that sells pool stuff. It's long name cyanuranic acid I think.

    3)Are you handy with electrical stuff? Do you know somebody that is? It's super easy but not for the complete novice.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    CYA sold at Walmart is called chlorine stabilizer if believe. just check ingredients and it will say cyanuranic acid.

    how many hours are you running your pump and what size is it? if you have a 1hp single speed motor, that draws 750 watts per hour. assuming 8 hours a day, that comes out to about 186 kw-h. how much are you paying per kw-h? say you are paying $0.13 per kw-h, that works out to $24 a month. if you have higher rates during the day, etc that can change. people with flex pricing sometimes run their pumps at night during non-peak rates.

    I see you updated your signature to include pool size. 5,000 gallons is pretty small and borderline cheaper to do a drain/refill and start fresh. how sure are you on the volume?

    EDIT: I see you have dimensions in your post. assuming the smallest dimensions and avg depth of 4.5, I am coming up with 8,500 gallons. if you use the larger dimensions closer to 12,000 gallons. need to try and refine that a little bit.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    Quote Originally Posted by DaninFLA View Post
    CYA sold at Walmart is called chlorine stabilizer if believe. just check ingredients and it will say cyanuranic acid.

    how many hours are you running your pump and what size is it? if you have a 1hp single speed motor, that draws 750 watts per hour. assuming 8 hours a day, that comes out to about 186 kw-h. how much are you paying per kw-h? say you are paying $0.13 per kw-h, that works out to $24 a month. if you have higher rates during the day, etc that can change. people with flex pricing sometimes run their pumps at night during non-peak rates.

    I see you updated your signature to include pool size. 5,000 gallons is pretty small and borderline cheaper to do a drain/refill and start fresh. how sure are you on the volume?

    EDIT: I see you have dimensions in your post. assuming the smallest dimensions and avg depth of 4.5, I am coming up with 8,500 gallons. if you use the larger dimensions closer to 12,000 gallons. need to try and refine that a little bit.

    based on those dimensions I would drain/refill
    I think you're looking at the poster above me. No it took about 3 days solid to fill my pool with the water hose on full blast. I still need to measure the pool to get the total size.

    It appears to be 3/4 hp and its been running 24/7 for months although the impeller has gotten stuck a couple of times causing algae to build up in the PVC pipes.

    Here is a pic of my pump & sand filter:

    3AYlO3D4JLjdIN8-Fe9r3xRkounB21LkRGZMqf9PMGgc=w1079-h798-no.jpg
    M07W8EIlGIzKVFlIEwrVarAXHw1RDqGwo4GDsUp7Uuj3=w1079-h798-no.jpg

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    ok. nice looking pool!
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    thanks..it was prettier when it was blue and not green :\

    the folks who put the liner in pulled out the old/green one (see it laying on the right side in the photo?) and weren't real careful about not getting some of that algae on the new one.

    i dont blame them..its my fault for not understanding the chlorinator wasn't properly pushing those tabs into the pool and for it developing algae. its been a constant fight since then so when i have time to try your SLAM method (probably will be next week since i'm out of town this coming weekend) i am looking forward to getting that fixed once & for all.

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    Welcome to TFP! Coming here was a great choice!

    These may have already been covered by others who got here before me, but I'll go ahead and throw it out there:

    1. You need a good test kit. These typically aren't stocked by local pool stores, as they would rather have you bringing your water to them so they can sell you the "next great thing". Check the TFTestKits.net link in my signature. I personally bought the TF-100, as it's a better value. But you can certainly get the Taylor K-2006 or K-2006C. The 'C' version has more reagents, which will come in handy.

    2. While you're waiting for your test kit to arrive, read the articles in Pool School. Especially the ABCs of Pool Chemistry and SLAM article. Essentially, all the articles linked in my signature are important when you're just getting started.

    3. Stock up on liquid bleach. 8.25% "concentrated" generic bleach (check the contents first, though) is what we use -- unscented, and not "EZ Pour," "Splashless," etc. Chlorinating with liquid chlorine or bleach is the foundation of the TFP method -- that way we aren't adding any CYA or calcium and we aren't affecting the pH of your water -- it's just chlorine.

    4. Stop going to the pool store. They are salesmen, not experts. And their tests are not reliable enough to make educated decisions about pool maintenance. Sorry, but it's the truth.

    5. Algaecides, clarifiers, and shock are unnecessary with the TFP method. They are generally a combination of the same "chemicals" we add through TFP, just packaged and priced in such a way that they fool unknowing customers into believing it's what they need.

    6. Be sure to add all the information you have about your pool to your signature -- dimensions and/or capacity, type of pump (especially single-speed or variable-speed), type of filter, and pool finish (obviously yours is a liner) are the key points.

    7. Check out PoolMath (you guessed it, link in my signature). Input your pool's size (in gallons) in the upper left-hand corner, select your surface type and TFP goals toward the bottom, and you're halfway there. Once you get your kit, you can put your first set of numbers in the left-hand 'Now' column, and it will tell you how much of each product to add to get to your 'Goal' (which you also input). PoolMath will be your best friend for the next couple of weeks, until you get through your SLAM and start learning your pool's appetite for chlorine, acid, etc.

    I know it can be overwhelming, and it seems like a ton of information to try and digest all at once. But if I can do it, you can.

    I plodded along with my pool, following pool store advice for 3 summers (and did the same for 10+ years with my parents' pool...). I was typically spending $80 to $160 per weekend at the pool store, buying whatever their computer said I needed. I decided this spring to take matters into my own hands and stumbled into TFP with a pool that looked like a St. Patrick's Day beer (no joke -- emerald green and foamy). Almost 3 weeks and 90+ jugs of bleach later (I had lots of issues to deal with all at once...), I ended up with a pool that looks, feels, and runs better than it ever has. And it costs me about $1.50 per day to keep it that way. Compare that to $10-20 per day doing it the "pool store way."
    25,000 gallon freeform gunnite/plaster, built in the 1970s/80s; Sta-Rite 9463004 575-lb. sand filter; Sta-Rite DuraGlas/Max-E-Glas (P2RA5F-125L) single-speed 1.5 HP pump, manufactured 12/1993 (1M93M).
    Helpful links: TFTestKits; Pool School; ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry; Chlorine/CYA Chart; PoolMath; SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    is this the 8.25% bleach? It says "super concentrated".

    Great Value Bleach, 121 fl oz - Walmart.com


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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    it should say 8.25% sodium hypochlorite on the label. that looks like it though
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    ok here's the taylor kit i have



    is this not going to work? it seems too basic and doesnt include the CYA test. Or can I just purchase that from your link and be ok?

    obviously i let the pool co. talk me into this kit when they replaced the vinyl and i didnt know any better..

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    Re: New pool owner needs some help (have tried to go it alone until now)

    In to watch the pretty pool learn how to be a good pool! LOL

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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