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Thread: New Pool Owner and Many Issues

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    New Pool Owner and Many Issues

    I just moved into my house two months ago. This is my first time to own a pool. The house was a foreclosure and had been vacant for over a year, but the foreclosure lender did put in a new Hayward filter before I purchased it. The pump is a Reliant (don't know how old it is) which I have been told is not that great of a machine. The pool size is about 20,000 gal. I started with a green pool due to pump not running and water level being low. About a month ago I had a pool guy look at the pool and he told me that I would be looking at major repairs to get the thing in top shape. He told me that the decking looked to be in very bad condition and needed to be replaced. I know that there are leaks as it loses water--maybe two inches or more per week in 70 degree weather in the daytime.

    The pool guy chiseled some of the area where the trap is so that I could get the water level to a point where the pump could work. The pool seems to hold water somewhat at a certain point where it only slowly leaks, but I had to get the trap in line with that point. He also gave me some pointers on starting out with a pool. He got the pump/filter running, ordered a new membrane for the filter, got a few other parts and advised me on a few thing to purchase at the pool store such as a brush, net and pole. He shocked the pool to get it back to blue.

    At that point, I wanted to take over the care myself, so I purchased a Pool Blaster Max and have been trying to get the debris out. I wanted to get a robotic vacuum, but the pool guy told me that my system is old and it probably would not work. The pool never got totally sparkly. It has been cloudy since the first shock although some days get better as I add more bleach. I messed up by brushing the pool to try to get the debris in one area so that I could vacuum, so I've had to shock several times with liquid bleach. When I stirred things up, it became very cloudy. I vacuumed over the course of several days and that stirred things up as well. Now, almost all of the debris has been vacuumed, but I suspect that there is still more that i cannot see.

    As for the filtration system, well it has issues. First there is air getting in from somewhere. Even if the water level is high, there is still bubbling going on. I sealed the o ring cap on the pump with lub, but I don't know it that helped. It does help to have the pool fuller, however it still has bubbling. When the pool guy first started helping me the filter membrane was not doing its job. It needed cleaning out about everyday. Then after he replaced it with a new one it showed signs of improvement. The pool was so dirty at that point that it overwhelmed the filter. It did okay for awhile, but every since I started vacuuming about a week or two ago the filter is doing something very strange. The needle on the gauge jumps rather like a needle on a speedometer when you press the gas peddle and let up. It does that for awhile after cleaning the membrane, but then it might settle down on one spot for a time. I am suspicious that some small pebbles may have gotten into the plumbing line that goes from the pool trap to the pump. The reason that I am suspicious of that is because when I was vacuuming around the main drain in the deep end of the pool a good amount of pieces of either pool material or small marble pebbles came up in the vacuum. Either I may have damaged the surface of the pool by vacuuming or those particles were there already and they just came up with the vacuum. Maybe by moving them around the pump was able to pull them into the line. (The pool guy told me that my pool needs to be resurfaced).

    Okay, so I've put in a bunch of bleach, the water is blue but cloudy. I have taken water samples to the pool store on several occasions and have been told that something is eating my chlorine. (I'm ordering a Taylor kit tomorrow). Total and Combined Chlorine were both 0, FC 0, PH 7.6, Total Alk 100, Calcium Hardness 230, Stabilizer 0, Total Dissolved Solids 1,100, Phosphate 300. Pool store told me to shock again and add more pucks to the floater to get some stabilizer into the water (had two before, so added two more), so I did about 5 gallons of liquid bleach over 12 hours then went back for testing the next day. I had .5 FC and total but 0 on combined. PH went up to 7.7, Total Aka 100, Calcium Hardness 200, Stabilizer 0, Total Dissolved solids 1900. Now, the pool store recommends stabilizer--8 lbs. I came home without it and will order it online tomorrow. The reason they did not recommend stabilizer before is because I was losing water to a leak and would have to keep replenishing it and it is costly.

    I have read through many articles on Pool School and find that they are most helpful. I don't know how to post pictures here, but if I figure it out, I will. I am concerned that the pool may be crumbling, I'm concerned about the filtration, and I'm concerned about the loss of water. If repairs are needed, I'll have to have them done slowly and may have to do some of them myself.

    Here are some of my questions: The drain in the deep end of the pool, does that take water to the pump as well as the trap that takes water to the pump? What can you tell me about my issues and how can I remedy the problems? Should I be using those pucks in the floater?

    Any help that you offer will be greatly appreciated. I look forward to our discussions in the coming days.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner and Many Issues

    HI there! Welcome from another FL person who also moved into a foreclosed home with a pool!

    Let start with the biggest thing-------when you order your test kit PLEASE get the TF-100 XL as you are going to need more regents than come in the Taylor 2006 to get your water looking like a jewel. Look in my siggy for a place to order it from. Yeah it costs a little more in the front end butyou will end up paying even more to refill the stuff you will be using up during the SLAM.

    We can and will get your water clear and I bet we can help you get your equipment up to par. I am going to give you a link to the SLAM and go from there.

    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    The number one thing about a faster SLAM is Maintain as in Maintain the FC at the SLAM level and trying to never let it get below the SLAM level.

    Here is a thread about posting pictures. This will be VERY helpful with the clearing of the pool AND for us to help with the equipment.

    How to add pictures to a post (full guide with screenshots)

    This will get you started.

    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

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner and Many Issues

    Welcome. I too have recovered a foreclosure pool.

    First off, you've got a lot of questions and possible issues. I'm going to try to focus in on issues I am familiar with that might be sources of your air bubbles in a swamp pool so that you can check.

    Regarding the drain...in my system, the drain is connected to the pump and filter. There will be a valve where you can open or close it. If you still have a lot of debris in the pool, I'd recommend you close it at least partially to avoid clogs. A picture of your plumbing and a list of equipment types in your signature would help.

    What you're calling the trap is I believe the skimmer. The water needs to stay midway up the skimmer box face for the pump to operate normally. Otherwise you will get air bubbles out the return.

    At the pump, where you greased the o-ring, you need to make sure its cleaned out and not clogging...there is a little impeller back there when you take the pump basket out that can get clogged. The pump basket needs to be cleaned out as well sometimes with a foreclosure pool.

    Your filter needs to be backwashed or cleaned off every time the pressure raises mor than 25% of normal pressure on the gauge. I can't tell what kind of filter you have to be more specific.

    If all these things are cleaned out and operating correctly, you could also have partial clogs in your lines that are causing bubbles from the returns. There is a tool you can attach to a garden hose to clean out the skimmer line. Here's a link. Amazon.com: Drain Cleaning Water Bladder with Garden Hose Attachment, Medium: Home Improvement

    Another way to clear a clog, if that's your problem, is to toggle the skimmer and drain valves open and partially closed a few times with the pump running. I have "cleared" a clog that way.

    That's about all the mechanical help I can offer blind. Do try to get the filtration system operating without bubbles because the SLAM process requires constant and correct filtering.
    =======================

    Now, for your water...just so you understand what's been happening with your chlorine. When a foreclosure pool sits at zero FC for a long time and has zero cya on opening, It usually means the cya has converted to ammonia.

    Ammonia will "eat" the chlorine right away until it is "overwhelmed" and the chlorine "wins" -- finally breaking it down.

    What this means is once your filtration system is working correctly and you're going to start your SLAM, for the first few hours, and before adding CYA, you need to dose it and read it every half hour to an hour to get it broken down. [See next post for accurate steps] Chlorine will eventually oxidize ammonia. Once your water will hold roughly more than 50 percent of the chlorine you've added for roughly an hour, you've likely nailed the ammonia, or are on your way

    In a Slam, its critical to keep adding liquid chlorine/bleach as often as necessary to not let it drop below the correct slam level, so the ammonia only means that you have to do that a bit more frequently until it is oxidized. Is th same process, except you don't really want to add your new cya until you're holding your FC because you know that the bacteria that convert cya to ammonia are still in the pool You don't want to keep making mor ammonia

    Lastly, you asked about tabs. Once you're in possession of a test kit and chlorine/bleach and are adopting the TFP way, you will not want to use tabs except in special circumstances, like a vacation.

    The TFP method relies entirely on controlling your FC:CYA ratio to the scientifically proven standard of sanitization...see the link in my signature. Tabs add too much cya over time and present a moving target for calculating your daily dose. It is both simpler and more effective to control your cya at the desired level and the add approx the same/similar amount of liquid chlorine each day

    Hope that helps you get on your way to a trouble free pool
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner and Many Issues

    Hi again.

    Since ammonia is tricky, I went and looked up steps a little more formal and correct than my comments above, prepared by one of our moderators. My casual half hour rule doesn't account for how fast the sunlight can reduce chlorine in a pool with no cya.

    Plus, your pool guy has already shocked. So please use this method to test the situation first before slamming or adding cya:

    Diagnosing:
    1. Test CYA level and record result
    2. With pump running, dose FC to Shock (SLAM) per level per Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart, then retest FC after 10 minutes. If FC level drops by more than 50%, then proceed with treatment for ammonia.

    Treatment for Ammonia:
    1. Begin a SLAM and dose FC up to SLAM level. Do not add additional CYA at this point.
    2. Retest FC at 10-minute intervals.
    a. If FC loss is greater than 50%, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level and continue retesting FC @ 10-minute intervals.
    b. IF FC loss is 50% or less, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level. Go to Step 3.
    3. If CYA is below 30 ppm, add enough CYA to bring level up to 30 ppm.
    4. Continue SLAM as directed in the SLAM article until the SLAM Criteria of Done are met. Test as directed in the SLAM article - no longer need to test FC at 10 minute increments at this point.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner and Many Issues



    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

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: New Pool Owner and Many Issues

    Good posting is right. Thank you so much Swampwoman for all of these tips. I will order that kit today and try to maintain what I have until it arrives. These tips on the filtration are most helpful. I'll see if I can get some pictures up in the next day or two.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: New Pool Owner and Many Issues

    Since my original post I have been able to get some of my issues resolved. I purchased a portable vacuum--Pool Blaster Pro, and have been able to use it successfully. I found out that my vacuum line to the skimmer had been cut off for some reason, so I could not use a vacuum that attaches to the skimmer. I also found out that I have a one pipe system, so if I need to drain the water out of the pool it would have to be pumped out by truck or separate machine. My pool is an inground plaster 22,000 gallons--32'x16' and has an 8' deep end and less than 4' shallow end.

    My TF 100 test kit came by USPS last Monday, so I have been able to do testing regularly. My water level continued to go down and even got worse than before. I got a company to come out and repair the leaks. There were three that were bad--one on the wall of the shallow end, one where the light is connected, and one in the skimmer line. As it turned out the leak in the skimmer line was the one that was causing all of the air to get into the suction line. Now, that leak has been repaired and my pump runs smoothly without any deviation, so that issue has been taken care of for now. The problem is that the patch in the skimmer line is only temporary according to the leak repair man. He told me that I needed to have the skimmer replaced. The other two leak repairs are permanent.

    I am still losing water, but not as bad--maybe a half of an inch a day. I did not let it get below a certain point before adding water due to the need to adjust my chemicals. I know that the pool needs a major renovation, but I'm trying to hold out for a year or two until I can save up some money to do it. Most of the tiles around the pool are cracked horizontally. Between the tile and the pool plaster there is separation and cracking. The leak repair man said that he could not do anything about those areas. That may be where I'm losing water now, but it also may be in a lower area than there. I'll have to watch things for a few days to see how it works. My decking has bad cracks in the concrete sidewalk where it has settled over the years--that needs to be replaced. The pool also needs to be replastered.

    Now, I'm trying to get my chemicals worked out. I've tested myself a few times and I've taken samples to the pool store. Our numbers are not the same on a few things. Last night, I put in two and a half gallons of 12% liquid bleach that I purchased from the pool store. I knew that my CYA was 0 so I added two socks full of stabilizer and tied them to the return jets. I used about half of the seven pound bag. The pool store told me that I needed eight pounds. The pool store also told me that my calcium was low, so I purchased a box from them. I did not add it yet, and after my own test I have determined that the calcium is not needed and will probably be returned to the store unopened.

    Here are my test results from the pool store from Friday before adding the shock last night. This was the day that the leak detection man fixed the pool.

    Total Chlorine 1
    Free Chlorine 1
    Combined 0.0
    pH 8
    Acid Demand 2
    Total Alkalinity 100
    Calcium Hardness 120
    Stabilizer 0
    TDS 1,200

    I should mention here that over the course of the week I have had the pool store test my water three or four times. The pH has varied and is higher than it usually is. The Calcium Hardness has also varied and is lower than it usually is. I suspect that adding new water over the past several weeks due to the pool leaks have taken its toll on the numbers.

    Now, I just tested with my new kit today, and here are my numbers. Keep in mind that I dosed high with chlorine last night and also added stabilizer.

    On the daily test the chlorine shows over 5 but not is not orange in color, and the BR is 10.

    pH 7.8
    FC 14
    CC .5 (or less)
    TC 14.5
    Calcium 250-275
    TAlk 120
    CYA 20

    The pool is crystal clear, the pump is running smoothly although the water level could be higher, and the weather is 65 degrees and sunny. What do you all think?

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