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Thread: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

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    Red face New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Hello all!

    Boy am I glad I found this site! I've done a lot of reading and ordered some things for my new pool, including a Taylor K-2006 test kit (arriving Tuesday). As I wait for this pre-testing limbo to be over, what should I be doing?

    Here's the deal: the previous owners were gone for about two weeks before we moved in. They had weekly service from a fairly reputable and highly rated pool company 'round these parts. So the water looks pretty much as I would expect it to--clear to the bottom, blue, your typical poolish water. However, it's been super hot for these past two weeks as well, and so the amount of water in the pool has gone down a fair amount (like proably 2-3 inches). It's still above the skimmer, but I'm worried if I wait too much longer it'll keep dropping and if that happens I would imagine the pool pump would flip out and explode or something (am I being dramatic? ).

    So you say, add water you idiot, duuuuh. The other thing is that they have one of those floating chlorine tab things in the water. I've read here that these increase the amount of CYA in the water, which could apparently mean I'd have to drain water from the pool and refill. I'd really prefer not to waste the water and increase my utilities bill if at all possible.

    So what would you do? I guess I could shut the pump off for the next few days, but something tells me that'd be a bad idea. Or I suppose I could add just a smidge of water, so if I end up having to drain it wouldn't be as bad on the environment/wallet.

    About the pool:
    -The pool is relatively small, about 12' x 28', and more or less rectangular. I'm estimating a little under 12k gallons using the PoolMath applet.
    -The inspection report we previously got says it's gunite (is that a form of concrete?)
    -DE filtered
    -not a SWG pool


    BONUS QUESTION!!
    The previous owners left nothing but one of those deep bottom-trawling nets. I've read that I should also invest in a brush and vacuum for the pool. While I'd really want something more automated (we have a Roomba in the house and looove it), I can't justify the expense right now. But I don't even know how the vacuums would work. Is there supposed to be some free hose coming from the pool equipment setup that I'm missing? Is it likely that they just skimped on the installation and I don't have that feature? If so, is there a recommended vacuum that does not require any interface/hookup with the pool at all?

    Thanks everyone! Looking forward to reading your responses, getting this stuff sorted, and getting to the swimming!

    -Tim

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    pulzar's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Welcome to TFP . I'm fairly new here myself, but I think I can answer your bonus question. The "low tech" vacuum solution attaches to your skimmer -- you just get a vacuum head, and a vacuum hose (sold separately) of appropriate length, and google "attaching vacuum hose to skimmer" -- there are lots of youtube videos showing how to do it... It's more-or-less "fill the hose with water, stick it into the skimmer, vacuum, pull it out of the skimmer."

    Does your net come with a telescoping pole? If not, then you'll need one of those to attach the vacuum head to... otherwise, you just take off the net, and snap on the vacuum head as needed.
    15,000 gallon in-ground plaster, oval-ish 25'x15', 3.5-7' deep
    Hayward SWG with cartridge filter, waterfall + bubbler, Taylor K-2006 kit

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Hi Tim, and welcome to TFP! Along with what pulsar noted above, let me see if I can give you some more to go on:
    - You are right to be concerned about a possibly high CYA level. If they use tablets/pucks for a long time, their CYA may very-well be high. You won't know until you get your K-2006 kit, but for now I would remove that floater and simply add a gallon of bleach each evening. Once you confirm your CYA, you may not need that much, but if the CYA is high, then more bleach is required to keep-up with it.
    - Definitely don't let the water get low. Most of us have a rule that if the water level is less that halfway up the skimmer inlet, it's too low. There is more chance of sucking-in air to the pump which you don't want.
    - I also use a simple manual vacuum/hose that connects to my skimmer as noted above. Simple, relatively inexpensive, and does the trick. Any pool store will have those items for you.
    - Remember the trick that many people fail to remember is the relationship between FC (Free Chlorine) and CYA (Stabilizer). They must be aligned together as you will see on the CYA/Chlorine Chart (below).
    - Keep all of the following links/pages handy. You will rely on them all season long:
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
    Poolmath calculator
    Pool School - Recommended Levels
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    If you have any other question, just let us know. Congratulations on your new home and pool!
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Earl Cox's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Welcome to TFP you are in good hands
    6280 Gal Intex 17' x 52" Metal Frame AG
    2500 GPH Filter Pump
    Intex Krystal clear SWG
    Taylor K-2005 With FAS-DPD Drop TEST KIT And Speedstir
    Intex Robot Pool Cleaner

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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Thanks for your help. Slightly different issues have arisen that you might be able to help with...

    The house is something of a "fixer-upper," and the pool is in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the place (but obviously not perfect).

    I was replacing a busted shower head today and it became more complicated than I knew how to handle. It started to leak and I am having a plumber come look at it this week, but I had to turn the water off to the whole house. I had already added water to the pool (thankfully) so I'm ok on that front. However, is it safe to run the pool pump while the water is off? I assume the pool pump does not use water from the house in its normal operation, but I don't want to end up with busted equipment. I shut the pump off today out of fear of doing so. Is it OK to turn it back on though?

    Also, I cleaned the skimmer basket last night and it was full of an ungodly amount of leaves and debris. This morning I noticed the skimmer wasn't sucking as strong as it was yesterday. I'm worried some debris might have gotten into that piping. I tried cleaning the area around the valve labeled "Skimmer / Main Drain" (before it goes through the pump etc) and also cleaning the secondary (pump?) basket. I didn't see a major improvement though. Did I majorly screw up? :/ is there anything else I should try?

    Thanks!

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    For your first question - You can run your pump. The house water has nothing to do with it. What you DO need to be careful about though (usually from evaporation) is that your water level doesn't drop too low. If you have a typical in-wall skimmer, make sure the water level doesn't drop lower than halfway down the skimmer mouth (opening). Hopefully you will have your water turned back on soon.

    As for the muck and suction, cleaning the pool skimmer and also the pump basket (with clear lid) that's tied into your pump are both important. Any large debris should get caught in either one of those. The other thing that can happen is your filter itself can get full and dirty from time to time. You may have a gauge on your filter housing that reads a pressure (PSI). If the gauge is working, what does it say?
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    As for the muck and suction, cleaning the pool skimmer and also the pump basket (with clear lid) that's tied into your pump are both important. Any large debris should get caught in either one of those. The other thing that can happen is your filter itself can get full and dirty from time to time. You may have a gauge on your filter housing that reads a pressure (PSI). If the gauge is working, what does it say?
    I'm not positive how to read the gauge. There seems to be a little turnable indicator which has two markings about 10 psi apart. The bottom one was a little below 10, and the top one was a little below 20. The (I believe) actual pressure gauge was between them, probably around 12 psi or so. Is that a settable "reminder" for when I need to backwash? Kinda neat if so.

    I really appreciate your help! Apologies for the late reply and lack of pictures. I had a bunch of random tasks to take care of around the house. However, I am pleased to report that cleaning the various baskets and valves has actually returned sucking action to the skimmer! I even went out and bought a manual pool vacuum and hose to celebrate. (Is it weird that I found pool vacuuming fun? It was like ... zen vacuuming, lol)
    12k gal | IG gunite | DE filter | 1 HP Pentair Challenger motor

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    I believe you are correct about the gauge. What happens for example is that someone will clean their filter really good, then make note of the new "clean" pressure - the lower mark. Then they may have a line higher on the gauge to indicate when the pressure is too high reminding them it needs to be cleaned again.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    I LOVE to vacuum my pool-----------zen for sure!

    You are doing such a good job already! Finding TFP, ordering a test kit, asking questions. KEEP IT UP!

    When you have a chance take a pic of your equipment so we can figure out what kind of filter you have so we will know what to tell you to do next.

    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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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Hello again! Took some pictures of the setup I'm lookin' at over here.

    I think I know what most of these things do...


    Pump
    IMG_5501_zpswairmx5m.jpg

    Motor


    Filter--in the inspection theym entioned the filter was leaking, which is I guess that stuff on the sides. Do I need to have someone come and fix a gasket or something?


    Little pump pressure gauge.
    IMG_5505_zpsw2i0pgym.jpg

    This is like the filter multi-valve or something, right? I've seen it in some YouTube videos. Looks kind of complicated.


    I hadn't noticed this guy before. Eek. Does this mean there's bromine in the pool? Or just that I could use it for bromine? But regardless, do I have to take this part off or something?


    There she is! Still low. When I added water yesterday it was pitch black so I had to judge by my phone flashlight. I'll add more tomorrow when they turn the water back on (actually, I'll test and maybe I'll have to drain the durn thing anyway....)


    - - - Updated - - -

    I got an error saying my quota was exceeded so here are the last two. :P


    Close up of the water (and my shadow lol)


    There's kind of a ton of foliage overhead if you didn't notice. This is a panorama so it makes a 3D shape look flat, but just imagine all that tree stuff above you instead of on top. :\ Makes for a really nice shady cool pool on a hot day, but dang it's gonna be a pain to clean!


    Edit: And they delayed the delivery of my test kit! What the heck. I was at the house all day.... Oh well, I guess I can't do much about it until I can add water anyway.
    12k gal | IG gunite | DE filter | 1 HP Pentair Challenger motor

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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    That "eek" is your chlorinator/brominator. Hopefully it is empty. It comes in handy for vacations when you can't be around to maintain your pool, but we can get into that later.

    The multi-port valve on top of your filter let's you control how water flows into and out of your filter.

    Pretty pool and it looks like clean-up should be fairly easy, except for all those trees. Eek!!!

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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Thanks for the quick reply MarianParoo! Do they sell like ... wire mesh nets or something I can just drape over the top every night? Even that would cut down on my work load a lot.
    12k gal | IG gunite | DE filter | 1 HP Pentair Challenger motor

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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Sorry, not my area of expertise... I have an built-in auto-cover to deal with my messes. I would bet that a solar cover and reel might suit you well. There are probably others who will chime in with better ideas.

    In the meantime, get some skimmer "socks" or equivalent (knee-highs, etc) to put inside your skimmer basket.

    Can't wait until your test kit arrives!!! Are you throwing in a little bleach everyday? Did you get your water about mid-skimmer level?

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    I have a mesh leaf cover for my pool which really helps in the fall and spring and sometimes I throw it on if they predict strong winds/thunderstorms.

    However, my pool is an above ground pool so I'm not sure how the mesh cover would work for an in ground.

    Mainly you'll probably just have to keep checking your skimmers regularly.

    There's a skimmer called a "pool skim" (brand name) that people seem to really like to help keep up with skimming. I wouldn't worry about it just yet but just figured I'd mention it in case you're into Google research like I am.

    Amazon.com : PoolSkim Pool Skimmer and Pool Cleaner : Swimming Pool Maintenance Kits : Patio, Lawn Garden

    That should be a link for the pool skim thing. Again, for future reference.

    For now it's best to get used to your current equipment and learn how everything works together including your test kit and regular maintenance.

    There's always some fun toys to buy in the future!

    P. S.
    Welcome to TFP! I hope that kit comes soon!
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.0 HP pump
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Filter----------Yes it does look like it is leaking. I would get some Lube Tube and try putting that one the o-ring in side the lid. You can get it at a pool store. I just linked to here to show you what you will be looking for. You will need to use in on the o-ring in the pump basket.

    Amazon.com : Lube Tube - Pool Gasket Lubricant : Swimming Pool Water Pumps : Patio, Lawn Garden

    The pic you labeled "pump" is the pump basket. You should have a basket in each skimmer and a basket in front of the pump motor. They need to be cleaned often.

    The chlorine/bromine holder is no big deal. You do NOT want to use bromine. That holder should be empty right now. It will be good to have for weekend get aways and such.

    Make sure to turn your pump off before you move the handle of your filter. You will also want to close the valves to keep the water from rushing out.

    We can/will help you figure everything out!

    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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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Okay y'all, the powers that be at USPS gave me an incredible headache getting this kit. Mail is on hold! No it isn't! It's being delivered today! No! It's on hold! Lol. Good news is, I got it--and I actually got a spare one they sent by accident too! Whoops! I've already gone through a whole bottle of my R0013 CYA reagent so this might be a blessing in diguise! :P

    I did the tests twice over the span of 3 days (I've had a lot of other little non-pool fires to put out so forgive my delay):

    FC: 38 (yowza!)
    PH: 7.6
    TA: 90
    CYA: 110-115 (estimating using the high CYA method described on the forum)
    CH: 750
    Water looks clear. I'm getting this weird residue from nuts dropping into the pool though.

    Ok so first of all, daaaang those tests required a ton of drops. :P

    As expected, CYA was high. FC was also high though so at least I'm not experiencing full-on algae bloom! :P From my limited understanding, my pool could have a high FC because it's almost entirely shaded from the sun. Coupled with me dumping bleach in before I got the kit and ... Here we are. :P

    As far as I can tell, pH and TA are normal, right? I don't know what's going on with CH. Super high. I know that's not good for the long term health of the pool.

    Here's my question: my area has just got out of a pretty bad drought. It hasn't rained for weeks. I'd like to obviously get these numbers down, but I don't want to so a drain and refill in the dead of summer when water demand is so high. Are there steps I can take to lower CH without drain/refill? Is this thing even safe to swim in, or will I turn into a pile of bleached bones the second I jump in? :P

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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    Or you can go to a big box store (Lowes) or a hardware store and pick up some silicone plumbers lube. Same stuff.

    Shop Danco Silicone Grease at Lowes.com[com.lowes.commerce.storelocator.beans.LocatorStoreBean%4049e d49ed]&storeNumber=2315&kpid=1092167&kpid=1092167&cm_mmc=SCE_PL A-_-RoughPlumbingElectrical-_-FaucetRepair-_-1092167%3ADanco&DM_PersistentCookieCreated=true&CAWELAID=&CA WELAID=1023483398

    Here's some show and tell on the gasket:
    How To: Replace a Pool Filter O-ring on a Cartridge Filter - YouTube

    - - - Updated - - -

    High FC more from you dumping in bleach, less from the shade. The shade just helps it not get eaten up as fast

    - - - Updated - - -

    You might want to test your water out of the tap to see where it's at. That would be the lowest you could achieve and it's a good thing to know.
    That high CH might also be from the "reputable" pool maintenance company depending on the chemical they were using for chlorine. I have a vinyl pool and a kid at the store "pool stored" me back before I knew better with some granular chlorine that also contained calcium I surely didn't need. Bottle is still sitting in garage.
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    I would wear and old swimsuit for sure and maybe rinse off after getting out of the pool. I just got my CYA down to 120 and I'm celebrating. I just have to keep the FC a little higher, but it is working very well.
    ~11,250 gallon, in ground, Pebble-Tec finish, Hayward SwimClear cartridge filter, Hayward Super II pump, Hayward bottom vacuum NaviGator (I call him Fred), waterfall feature, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    How did you do it Nighthawk? Just play the waiting game?

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New pool/home owner, stuck in pre-testing limbo!

    TWO test kits? LOL NICE job!

    Test your tap/fill water and let us know what you find.

    Do not bother testing the CYA with the tap water as will not have any.

    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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