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Thread: New to this pool thing

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    New to this pool thing

    My wife and I just purchased a home in the DFW metroplex, and it has a pool which was a huge selling point. The pool is around 18,000 gallons, and was installed in the early 2000s. The home itself is considerably older. The previous owners pool company has been "taking care of it" for the past two months as we were not living here. As soon as my third month is up, I am going to drop them and do it myself. I have two major questions at the moment.

    1. I'm still fighting and getting the hang of this pool thing. Prior to us moving in, our skimmer was turned off because we weren't here and couldn't fill it constantly, so it would lose water because it is hot as balls here. Well, we got here and I filled the pool back up and turned the skimmer on. Next morning the pump was just sucking air, I panicked and shut it down, opened the pump basket area, **** was **** near boiling. I decided it was the skimmer letting the water back into the pool and draining the pump over night, so I changed the check valve on the skimmer pipe. That helped as it prevented the filter from draining back. My pump is considerably higher than my pool due to grading, but it is sized properly.


    Went out this morning and it was sucking more air. I turned it off, closed the skimmer, and then started it back up. After it was working fine with just the main drain open, I popped open he skimmer valve and ran over to watch. The skimmer sucked water in so fast, it drained the basket area and created a waterfall effect. Found the source of all the air


    Turned it off again, and got a hose with a jet nozzle and stuck it into the rear pipe in the skimmer, it blew out a lot of what looked like DE or powdered chlorine. I do know the pool guys just dump shock right into the basket, and I'm assuming they do the same with the DE. Could it have been air trapped around the pile of DE? It is probably 60 yards from my skimmer to the pump. Could it have been that I just had the skimmer valve open way too far? I closed it down and just cracked it open until the bugs in the skimmer started to swirl. I let it sit for an hour and then turned it on again and it didn't suck the water in like previously.
















    2. What is this, and how do I get rid of it?







    The pool is coated in a fiberglass epoxy feeling coating, not your typical plaster feel. So I am hesitant to use a wire brush on it


    Im assuming it comes from the trees, these are around the pool.








    Yes, I do have some landscaping to do, but that is down the list.




    My pool guy suggested "metal out," does anyone have experience with that?






    Thank you for reading, here is a picture of my little buddy that followed me around yesterday. These are everywhere around here.





    We stared at each other for a while, and he started showing off.



  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Does your skimmer have a weir door? That controls the level and flow into the skimmer. Just as a reference I have my main drains shut off 75% and the skimmer open 100% and have no loss of prime issues unless the water level gets very high which shuts the weir door.

    - - - Updated - - -

    For the spots take a chlorine puck and sit it on it...do the spots go away. If not try some crushed vitamin c in a nylon and sit on it. Don't add any metal free until we know what we are dealing with. Do you have a good test kit? Either the tf100 or taylor k2006? If so post the test results
    18' x 38' Pool, 3' to 8' Depth
    Vinyl Liner
    SWG
    Variable Speed Pump
    Sand Filter

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Hello and welcome! If you're not getting fill water from a well, I'd be surprised if you had metal in the water, but you can always take a sample to the pool store just to let them check for iron or copper. Get your sample from the source, not your pool. Copper typically comes from algaecides. But can you tell us how you are testing your water? Do you have a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006? If not, as a new (take charge of your pool) pool owner life the rest of us, you'll want to go here first: TFTestkits.net. Don't forget to ask for the speed stir.

    As for your suction side leak allowing air in the the pump basket, you can check our Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks page. The fact that you lose no prime from main drain and only when the skimmer is open sure does help. See if anything on that page helps. Remember you can use a water hose to pour over each joint that is exposed to see if it helps to smother the air and seal the leak. Some people also like to use shaving cream.

    See if any of these tips helps and let us know so we can go from there. Welcome to TFP!
    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!

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Okay, so here is what I have for the time being.



    I ran all of the tests that this kit allowed, here are my numbers. I don't have a test for Calcium hardness, or cyanuric acid with this kit.



    I also think I screwed up the free chlorine test, so that's probably why it is super high.





    I don't have vitamin C at the moment, I will try to pick some up tomorrow or monday, but I did drop a puck on a spot and left it for 5 minutes.



    After 5, spot looks the same. Big one to the right was where the puck was. It almost has a black color to it.







    New question now. It appears that the pool originally had a hand rail at the steps, and at some point it was removed. Is there a flat plug that they make for this situation? I really don't want a hole that just collects leaves. I really want to see if I can make a coupling that will accept an outdoor umbrella.


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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Fc at 5ppm is actually not high and depending on how long you've been using trichlor or dichlor and where your Cya is, it could be low. I keep my FC above 6ppm at all times.
    18' x 38' Pool, 3' to 8' Depth
    Vinyl Liner
    SWG
    Variable Speed Pump
    Sand Filter

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    I forgot to mention, there is no weir door on the skimmer.

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Welcome to the forum.

    That test kit does not measure FC high enough to really be useful long term.

    You show a CYA level of 40 ppm, is that from a pool store test?

    Dom
    Dom - TFP Guide
    Intex 18' X 48" Ultra Frame AGP 6700 gallons | Two Intex CS8110 SWG's | Hayward Pro Series 21" Sandfilter | Hayward 1.5HP Power Flo Matrix pump | Hayward Thru-wall Skimmer | Wanda the Whale | 72 sq ft of Sungrabber Solar Panels with Hayward GLC-2P-A | Taylor K2006 Test Kit, Sample Sizer & Speed Stir | Click Here To Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    You need to look into getting a weir door. There are generic ones that can fit almost any skimmer.
    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 to this pool thing

    Quote Originally Posted by domct203 View Post
    Welcome to the forum.

    That test kit does not measure FC high enough to really be useful long term.

    You show a CYA level of 40 ppm, is that from a pool store test?

    Dom
    No CYA test, just clicked next on that option.

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    The test kit you have is really only good for TA and pH right now. The chlorine test it provides is very limited as everyone else ahs already mentioned. You can order the right kit as noted in post #3. You won't regret it. Everything we speak about in TFP for water sanitation is related to this chart Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart. You'll see that your FC is directly related to the current CYA. SO you must know what that is from your own test kit. Pool store testing for CYA is notoriously incorrect.

    Until then, you may want to ensure there are no tablets/pucks in the pool, and don't use any pool store bags of shock. Rely solely on liquid chlorine for sanitation .... assuming you don't have a salt water generator. Speaking on an SWG, please add your pool info to your signature by going to the top of the TFP web page (just under the Pool School button) and select "SETTINGS". On the next page look to the left for a menu bar that says, “MY SETTINGS” and go to "EDIT SIGNATURE" to enter your pool and equipment info there. It will help us later.
    Make sure your TA and pH remain in their respective levels following the Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals. Once you receive the proper test kit, you can post a full set of numbers and we can try to pinpoint your problem better for you.
    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!

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Some good news, I think the skimmer issue has been resolved by changing the check valve and only having the skimmer valve open a hair or two. Pump fired up this morning with no issues (that I can see). Seems to be running great now.


    Next up: fix those terrible spots, get my test kit, replace my stolen Polaris, and to create an accurate signature.

  12. Back To Top    #12
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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Stolen Polaris? Horse thieves! The worst. Well, maybe I can help you with the sig:
    Update your pool info to your signature by going to the top of the TFP web page (just under the Pool School button) and select "SETTINGS". On the next page look to the left for a menu bar that says, “MY SETTINGS” and go to "EDIT SIGNATURE" to enter your pool and equipment info there. It will help us later.
    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!

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    I would say you haven't fixed the skimmer if you have no weir gate and you're having to Crack the valve open barely. Most of us run the skimmer wide open and the main drain only cracked open. You want the majority of the water to go through the skimmer as most trash floats not sinks.
    18' x 38' Pool, 3' to 8' Depth
    Vinyl Liner
    SWG
    Variable Speed Pump
    Sand Filter

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Quote Originally Posted by robertmee View Post
    I would say you haven't fixed the skimmer if you have no weir gate and you're having to Crack the valve open barely. Most of us run the skimmer wide open and the main drain only cracked open. You want the majority of the water to go through the skimmer as most trash floats not sinks.
    I will definitely look into retrofitting a weir door. The logic makes sense. I have noticed that most of my dirt and trash has been on the floor, don't have a ton floating. Some suicidal ants, and the usual leaves. I'm sure that once we get a polaris again, the bottom will be of no issue, and with a door installed I can focus on the surface.

    The polaris was here on the final walkthrough, and then it was not when we got the keys. Owner claims it was here when she left, but who knows. I still am not sure it wasn't the pool crew

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Yeah, those things don't just walk away. Not cheap either. Someone knew what they were doing. Some people.
    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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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Those roaming cleaners are gosh darn it all to heck expensive as you are/will find out. Usually you can trade your old one in on an upgrade and they'll knock a c-note off the price....
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    This is so frustrating.


    I just went out this morning and the pump is sucking air again. The skimmer check valve was completely dry, and it had condensation covering the window like it lost water and the evaporation stuck to the window. I also filled the pool up to the top grout line of the lowest tile last night. This morning it's only 1/4 of the way up the lowest tile So there is clearly something in the skimmer line that is allowing water out. There aren't any large trees super close to my pool, so there shouldn't be a ton of roots under it. I just don't know what to do now. I feel like I keep dumping water and money into this house/pool with no end in sight. This sucks.

    I was able to prime the pump back up by opening the basket, and then cracking open the chlorine feeder. The water flowed back to the basket along with a bunch of air. I turned it on, and was able to bleed out a bunch of the air in the system so it is running now. I start my new job on Monday, so I'm not going to be able to tend the pump every morning when it turns on.

    Hypothetically, there is a crack in the skimmer pipe, what happens then? Are we talking home owners insurance claim costs?


  18. Back To Top    #18
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New to this pool thing

    If you did have a plumbing issue, you could check with your homeowners policy, but I kind of doubt they cover it. You never know though. So it looks like you lost about 1/2-3/4 inches of water huh? Water lost while pump was running? I'm guessing you saw no evidence of moisture or soft ground anywhere that might indicate you have a pressure side leak huh? I mean if the water level dropped enough to where your skimmer couldn't get water, but if you have a main drain then it may not matter. Of course on the suction side, always do what you can to rule-out the standard areas by reviewing this page first: Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks. Underground suction side leaks can happen, but typically it's the things above ground first. Good luck.
    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!

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Splash View Post
    If you did have a plumbing issue, you could check with your homeowners policy, but I kind of doubt they cover it. You never know though. So it looks like you lost about 1/2-3/4 inches of water huh? Water lost while pump was running? I'm guessing you saw no evidence of moisture or soft ground anywhere that might indicate you have a pressure side leak huh? I mean if the water level dropped enough to where your skimmer couldn't get water, but if you have a main drain then it may not matter. Of course on the suction side, always do what you can to rule-out the standard areas by reviewing this page first: Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks. Underground suction side leaks can happen, but typically it's the things above ground first. Good luck.
    Yes, it looks to be a little over 1/2" over night. The filter was off. I can't say whether or not there is wet ground by my filter as that area has pretty bad drainage, and looked like it could have been wet, but I cannot guarantee it. The filter is about 4 feet higher than my pool due to the backyard grade, so it would be odd to me that the water is dumping up there without the filter on pulling it up. I'm waiting for my pool company to call me back as they have been taking care of this pool for years. However, I am excited for our 3 months to be up so I can move on.

    My mom had a crack in her skimmer line a few years back, combined with the leak detection company, a completely new skimmer setup, and the pipe repair/cutting out a tree root it cost her around $1700, so I'm panicking a little less on that front now. It will hurt, and is quite frustrating, but if that is what it takes I will gladly do it.

    What perplexes me is that if I am losing 1/2" of water over night, that is roughly 100 gallons of water. I understand that our ground in Texas right now is bone dry, but I feel that I would notice 100 gallons of water somewhere around the pool.
    My pool: In ground FiberTech coated; ~17,500 Gal w/ Pentair, 1.5-hp pump; Polaris PB4-60 turbo pump; Nautilus NS DE filter

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: New to this pool thing

    Quote Originally Posted by robertmee View Post
    Does your skimmer have a weir door? That controls the level and flow into the skimmer. Just as a reference I have my main drains shut off 75% and the skimmer open 100% and have no loss of prime issues unless the water level gets very high which shuts the weir door.

    - - - Updated - - -

    For the spots take a chlorine puck and sit it on it...do the spots go away. If not try some crushed vitamin c in a nylon and sit on it. Don't add any metal free until we know what we are dealing with. Do you have a good test kit? Either the tf100 or taylor k2006? If so post the test results
    Got a couple vitamin C tabs today and put them on a few spots. Cleared them right up. It also made the white much whiter. What is my next plan of action?

    Thank you btw.
    My pool: In ground FiberTech coated; ~17,500 Gal w/ Pentair, 1.5-hp pump; Polaris PB4-60 turbo pump; Nautilus NS DE filter

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