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Thread: Starting off right

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    Starting off right

    My wife and I will be closing on our first house soon (middle of January). Beautiful house, with a nice pool in the backyard. We recently moved from Philadelphia to Phoenix, so the pool will be a blessing. Only issue is that neither my wife nor myself have had any real exposure to pools so far in our lives, and therefor are fairly lost in regards to what it takes to maintain a pool. The most I know is that the majority of pools I've been in have smelled very strongly of chlorine, and leave your skin dry and generally "bad" feeling. I've been in exactly one pool that felt silky smooth, and was nice and sparkling - a "salt water" pool. I want my pool to be a nice, silky smooth feeling pool, and not a smelly chemical mess.

    With that said, I've been reading up in the "Pool School" section, and will have a test kit ready to go when we move in. The current owners had the pool redone in PebbleTec a few months ago and use the same people to maintain the pool. No clue what they use, and I worry the CYA will be off the chart or something, but I'll have to wait and find out. In the mean time, I wanted to say "Hello" and see if anyone could identify and/or comment on the equipment they have. I know it's a newer DE filter, but I have no idea what the box is with the buttons on it, nor do I have any clue what size the pool is. See pictures below...










    Thanks for any advice or comments. I'll continue reading and will purchase a test kit - I don't plan on keeping the pool service, so I have a lot of reading to do!
    IG 12,000 gallon PebbleTec play pool, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward Tri-Star VS SP3200VSP 2HP pump
    Phoenix, AZ

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    bmoreswim's Avatar
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    Starting off right

    You are in a great place. It's awesome that the pool was just refinished. And if you read, re-read and read Pool School again you'll have all the knowledge you need to get going.

    You can have a perfect, sparkly and pleasant to the skin pool using either a SWCG or bleach to sanitize your pool

    I however, strongly recommend going the salt route because you have no stone in sight around your pool to potentially have any flaking issues (though that can be combatted with routine sealing). Using a salt cell to automated chlorine delivery is a fantastic way to automate that process. You shouldn't have too much issue with high CYA (hopefully) because the pool has CYA-free water from the replaster refill. If they are using stabilized picks it hasn't been that long. But your TF-100 with Soeed-Stir will tell you for sure. Order you test kit now so you have it on hand and can practice a few times. Grab some tap water from the house if you can to check it out.

    Congrats on the new house/pool! You will need to keep an eye on the pH religiously as it tends to rise much more quickly after a replanted. Later it may or may not move much. Just depends on the personality of your pool.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    Welcome!

    It looks like the box with buttons is the speed control for the pump. I don't have one, so I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on programming it. Do know that pool stores and techs advise a lot more filtering than you probably really need. Overfiltering doesn't hurt anything but your wallet, and since they're not paying, they'll have you run it a lot.

    You are probably correct in assuming CYA will be high. In Phoenix, 70 would not be excessive, and if you install a SWG, 70 CYA is the minimum. Also expect to see high CH levels. While far from ideal, managing pool chemistry with high CH is not that difficult up to about 800. By 1000 you have very little wiggle room. Which is a long-winded way of saying, drain if you must to adjust CYA, but you don't have to reduce CYA to 50, and high CH alone is not reason enough to undertake a massive water replacement right off the bat.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    Do you have any access to the pool at all? If so write down any info you find on the pump and filter-----models, size, etc.

    We can go from there.

    Go ahead and get your test kit. You can go ahead and practice on your tap water (everything except CYA).

    LOVE the yard! You will love it and YOUR pool will have that wonderful feel you are looking for with TFP in your back pocket!

    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: Starting off right

    You have the ideal pool to add a salt water chlorine generator. Since it was recently replastered, I would wait at least until spring to do the conversion. During the cool weather of our Arizona "winter", it won't require much in the way of chemicals, and SWGs don't work in cold water. But come spring I would suggest you added a SWG. It looks like all your pool equipment is Hayward and the Hayward AQR15 would be an excellent choice. It is a tried and true unit. Many, many people (including me) are using it. It's affordable (can be found online for under $900) and replacement cells are less than $400. With a SWG that's how you pay for your chlorine. A cell will generate a given quantity of chlorine, before it must be replaced. In my case my original cell lasted 7+ years, making my chlorine cost ($400/7) about $57 per year. Always buy the largest capacity replacement cell, in the Hayward that's a T-15 (40k rated) cell.

    It also looks like you have a variable speed pump. That will provide a lot of flexibility as well as significantly reducing your energy costs. Congrats on the new house and the pool, it's a nice one. Oh and WELCOME to TFP!
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Starting off right

    Welcome to TFP!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Starting off right

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Do you have any access to the pool at all? If so write down any info you find on the pump and filter-----models, size, etc.

    We can go from there.

    Go ahead and get your test kit. You can go ahead and practice on your tap water (everything except CYA).

    LOVE the yard! You will love it and YOUR pool will have that wonderful feel you are looking for with TFP in your back pocket!

    Kim
    Thanks No access to the pool until it is mine (closing). I should have tested the water during the inspection since I had time, but it looks like the steps to correct any abnormalities are fairly straight forward and just a forum search away.

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    You have the ideal pool to add a salt water chlorine generator. Since it was recently replastered, I would wait at least until spring to do the conversion. During the cool weather of our Arizona "winter", it won't require much in the way of chemicals, and SWGs don't work in cold water. But come spring I would suggest you added a SWG. It looks like all your pool equipment is Hayward and the Hayward AQR15 would be an excellent choice. It is a tried and true unit. Many, many people (including me) are using it. It's affordable (can be found online for under $900) and replacement cells are less than $400. With a SWG that's how you pay for your chlorine. A cell will generate a given quantity of chlorine, before it must be replaced. In my case my original cell lasted 7+ years, making my chlorine cost ($400/7) about $57 per year. Always buy the largest capacity replacement cell, in the Hayward that's a T-15 (40k rated) cell.

    It also looks like you have a variable speed pump. That will provide a lot of flexibility as well as significantly reducing your energy costs. Congrats on the new house and the pool, it's a nice one. Oh and WELCOME to TFP!
    Definitely interested in a SWG, but I'll have to read up more on it first. I've heard other opinions that they are way more expensive than manually adding chlorine, and I've heard that they don't play well with hard water... If it works for you in Tuscon though, it should work well here in the Phoenix suburbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Welcome!

    It looks like the box with buttons is the speed control for the pump. I don't have one, so I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on programming it. Do know that pool stores and techs advise a lot more filtering than you probably really need. Overfiltering doesn't hurt anything but your wallet, and since they're not paying, they'll have you run it a lot.

    You are probably correct in assuming CYA will be high. In Phoenix, 70 would not be excessive, and if you install a SWG, 70 CYA is the minimum. Also expect to see high CH levels. While far from ideal, managing pool chemistry with high CH is not that difficult up to about 800. By 1000 you have very little wiggle room. Which is a long-winded way of saying, drain if you must to adjust CYA, but you don't have to reduce CYA to 50, and high CH alone is not reason enough to undertake a massive water replacement right off the bat.
    I expect CH to be high - the house has a water softener hookup, but none is installed. According to the neighbor, it's been years since one has been working. Water here in Arizona leaves quite a bit to be desired. I'll have to look into the variable speed pump and figure out what a good/standard regimen is (or at least a good starting point).

    Thanks everyone for the replies, happy to have found such a great resource.
    IG 12,000 gallon PebbleTec play pool, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward Tri-Star VS SP3200VSP 2HP pump
    Phoenix, AZ

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    SWGs work fine with hard water. You just have to keep your water chemistry properly balanced (a little thing called the Calcite Saturation Index, CSI) and it will be fine. As others have suggested, manually chlorinate your pool for now so you can learn its needs and then add the SWG later.

    As for the water softener, it will only help you in the house, not outside. Water softener plumbing loops (I have a loop for one) only hook up to the interior supply lines. Exterior spigots are always on a separate loop from the main unless the home builder specifically installed something different. Outdoor water softeners do exist and can help with managing calcium but not a lot of people use them that way.

    Welcome and congrats on the new pool....oh yeah, and the thingy that came with your new pool, I thinks it called a house or something like that....


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Starting off right

    We chose to forego the expense of a SWG because we are almost always at home during pool season so we can maintain the pool chemistry easily by testing regularly.

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    Re: Starting off right

    Actually I connected a water softener line to my auto fill. I don't try to fill the pool with soft water, but for the water to replace evaporation, I use softened water. Even then my CH is over 1,000 after a couple years without draining and refilling. Yep, our water in AZ is high Calcium Hardness and very high alkalinity, but it can be managed with careful monitoring of your CSI (Calcite Saturation Index) and pH. A salt water generator added will mean you will have little to do but test regularly and add some muriatic acid as your testing indicates. That's really the only chemical I've ever had to add to my pool in the last couple years. My local pool store thinks I'm nuts. I stop in periodically and buy six or eight gallons of acid, but never anything else.

    A SWG is a significant investment upfront ($900 or so), but after that, my ongoing chlorine cost is less than $60 per year. I don't know of any way to chlorinate cheaper than that!
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Starting off right

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    Actually I connected a water softener line to my auto fill. I don't try to fill the pool with soft water, but for the water to replace evaporation, I use softened water. Even then my CH is over 1,000 after a couple years without draining and refilling. Yep, our water in AZ is high Calcium Hardness and very high alkalinity, but it can be managed with careful monitoring of your CSI (Calcite Saturation Index) and pH. A salt water generator added will mean you will have little to do but test regularly and add some muriatic acid as your testing indicates. That's really the only chemical I've ever had to add to my pool in the last couple years. My local pool store thinks I'm nuts. I stop in periodically and buy six or eight gallons of acid, but never anything else.

    A SWG is a significant investment upfront ($900 or so), but after that, my ongoing chlorine cost is less than $60 per year. I don't know of any way to chlorinate cheaper than that!
    Good to know, thanks for the datapoint. I honestly didn't realize the water softener isn't usually connected to the outdoor water sources, but it makes sense. It's funny, I thought I knew much of what I needed for home ownership - and then we moved across the country. Pools, water softeners, palm trees and other plants... All things I've never encountered in my previous life in Philadelphia, but all things I'll have to figure out.

    Looks like I'll get to a good base with manual chlorination, and once things have settled (and the bank account bounces back), I'll hook a SWG up. < $1k isn't too bad a price if it's comparable to other methods in the long run.
    IG 12,000 gallon PebbleTec play pool, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward Tri-Star VS SP3200VSP 2HP pump
    Phoenix, AZ

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    Please make sure to save out $75 or so for a test kit. THAT will be your number one tool for the pool!

    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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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    One thing to remember in the future when you do get an SWG, have it professionally installed by a licensed rep for the particular SWG vendor. Most manufacturers will void the standard 1-year warranty and just give you 60-days if you buy their equipment online and self-install. So that $1000 might turn into $1200 or more with the installation cost.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Starting off right

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Please make sure to save out $75 or so for a test kit. THAT will be your number one tool for the pool!

    Kim
    Already have the TF-100 kit in the mail.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    One thing to remember in the future when you do get an SWG, have it professionally installed by a licensed rep for the particular SWG vendor. Most manufacturers will void the standard 1-year warranty and just give you 60-days if you buy their equipment online and self-install. So that $1000 might turn into $1200 or more with the installation cost.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
    Didn't think about this... Not a big deal, I just default to the DIY route. I'll remember this for when the time comes though.
    IG 12,000 gallon PebbleTec play pool, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward Tri-Star VS SP3200VSP 2HP pump
    Phoenix, AZ

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    Re: Starting off right

    So I officially own the house now. Went over and did my first tests today:

    CL between 3 and 5 (I got a little heavy handed doing the DPD test so it's not as exact as I'd like)
    pH 7.5 to 7.8
    CH 600
    CYA appears well over 100
    TA 170

    Pool was found with a floating puck in it, which I assume is the reason for the high CYA. I'm going to repeat the tests in a day or two when I go back over as I don't really trust my numbers at this point. I forgot to check the pump pressure, but the paper work they gave us from the PB has the initial filter PSI recorded, so at least I don't have to assume it needs cleaned. Although I did the CYA test twice, I'm really hoping I don't have to drain the pool at all...
    IG 12,000 gallon PebbleTec play pool, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward Tri-Star VS SP3200VSP 2HP pump
    Phoenix, AZ

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    For the CYA test use a diluted water sample. Mix 1 part pool water with 1 part distilled water and then use that mixture to do the CYA test. Multiply your test result by 2.

    If your CYA is over 100ppm, you're going to have to drain some water as the excessive CYA will make managing the pool water too much of a pain.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Starting off right

    Retest CYA like Matt suggested in full sun tomorrow.

    Also, which test kit did you buy? Your FC test results are from an OTO. I hope you have FAS-DPD testing ability.

    Congrats on the house!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Starting off right

    Good job! You are on your way!

    For the CYA test you can use the same mixture to retest. Just pour it back into the bottle and add again. That will save you testing regents.

    I hope the closing went well!

    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: Starting off right

    I don't have a SWG either as I am always around during swim season so a SWG is not cost-effective as long as I don't get lazy and not test frequently.

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    Re: Starting off right

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    Retest CYA like Matt suggested in full sun tomorrow.

    Also, which test kit did you buy? Your FC test results are from an OTO. I hope you have FAS-DPD testing ability.

    Congrats on the house!
    I have the TF-100 (or 1000?) Has all the tests I should need minus salt and borates, but I'll deal with that when I have salt or borates to test for ;p. I got ham fisted with the FAS-DPD and put in too many drops at once, hence it wasn't really accurate, and I didn't have time to retest it. I did get a chance to look over some of the paperwork, the pool was refinished almost exactly one year ago - is one year of pucks enough to cause CYA issues? What does CYA look like on a pool that's maintained this way for years?
    IG 12,000 gallon PebbleTec play pool, Hayward DE4820 DE filter, Hayward Tri-Star VS SP3200VSP 2HP pump
    Phoenix, AZ

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