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Thread: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

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    Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I'm still a newbie with taking care of my pool/spa. This will be our third year as pool owners. The first year, I let a pool service take care of everything. Last year, I had them open and close and come every other week while I took care of the pool every day they weren't there. Learned to check the chemistry daily and keep chemicals balanced. This year, I hope to have them only open and close and periodically come to wash my filters as I do not have time to do it.

    So as the weather seems to have turned the corner and we are now on a stretch of mid 70's-80 degree temps, I decided to check on the spa today. It is about 500 gallons, separate from the pool, located about 20 feet away and is above ground, but shares the same filter as my pool. There is a retaining wall on one side and due to the raised wall, the only type of cover available for it is a vinyl? covered padded foam that sits on top of the surface. It does a terrible job keeping debris and excess water out because the size of the cover is about 2 inches smaller than the circumference of the spa. So I pull off the cover today and find a nice algae ring at the surface line which by the way had risen to the skimmer level due to the snowmagedden storm we had this winter and the water is a greenish brown color and is full of leaves and debris. I cleaned out as much of the debris as I can and drain the water back down to below skimmer level. But it's still gross and stinky. I mean real stinky. So I end up just draining out everything with a water pump and scrub off as much as algae as I can and refill with fresh water back to below skimmer level. So at this point, what do I do and what chemicals do I add to keep it in good enough condition until May when I have it opened? On a similar note, should I check my pool water while I'm at it? I have a solid cover on it, but it, too, has a raised wall on one side so the cover comes up along the wall and although I imagine that it keeps most debris out, I think some rain/snow and maybe small debris does manage to sneak in. What should I look for and how do I keep it balanced at this point in the season? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool built 2011 filled with city water, separate 500 gallon spa but runs on same filter, Jandy pump with catridge filter, 3 water features, Polaris cleaner, Nature 2 system, electric opaque solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    Hello.

    Well, I see from your other post that you already have a good test kit, so that's good.

    I'd say now that temps are warm, you need to take off the covers to your pool and spa, and get things going with circulation and filters and such.

    You'll want to set PH, and CYA levels at the recommended levels, and then do a SLAM. CYA levels at the lower end makes shocking easier.

    Ideally, you'd want to do this before water temps rise in the spring. Nasties grow faster the warmer the water gets. I believe 60 degrees is the point where algae starts to take off.

    So, for starters, test your CYA levels, and PH.

    Is it possible to have your pool and spa opened up now, instead of waiting till may?

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I hadn't planned on opening until May. Last year it was very time consuming to manage the pool (being a newbie and all) with adding daily chlorine, scrubbing, etc. I seem to remember going through at a gallon every couple days and needing to add muriatic acid weekly because my pH would drift higher despite having done the borax thing. I also know my cartridge filters will need to be replaced this season, but was hoping I could get through half the summer before doing it. So from a time and cost perspective, I would prefer to open in May.

    I don't mind having to drain and refill the spa several times if that's what I have to do. I was just wondering if there was a way to keep it clean enough with chemicals without having to start the filter going.

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I'm afraid the later you wait, the worse it will get. When you have algae, the only way to kill it is with chlorine (regular bleach). And if your spa plumbing shares the pool plumbing, then more than likely they are both infected. So before you even test anything, I can bet a SLAM is going to be the prescription. Not the worse thing to do, but the longer you wait the more algae you'll have to fight.

    If you've never done a SLAM before, the link is below in my sig. Also, 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. This link may also help you: Pool School - Read This BEFORE You Post.

    Looks like it will be an early swim season for most of the country.
    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: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    Well, ph should be maintained in the correct range for the health of your plaster. CYA should be tested for to see whether or not it was converted to ammonia over the winter. Ammonia is rocket fuel for algae growth.

    Waiting till May makes these issues harder to deal with. Even being lazy, and just doing what you can now is better than doing nothing.

    Adding chlorine to your spa is the same process as the pool. You need to treat all the water.

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    This may be a silly question, but can I leave my spa dry since it is above ground?

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    No, it isn't good for the plaster to be left dry.
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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I will check the pool water this weekend, but I think my spa water is always worse off because of the lack of complete coverage from the elements during the winter due to the poor cover. So even though they share the same plumbing, shouldn't the algae still be contained only within the spa since it and the pool were plugged off from each other as part of the winterization process (remember the spa is in a separate area of the yard)? And since I just did a complete drain, clean, and refill of the spa, shouldn't that help in protecting my pool water from getting infected?

    Texas Splash, are you suggesting that I do a SLAM now or wait closer to opening? If I need to do one now, can I do a SLAM without running the filters? How about adding algaecide? Is that a good idea?
    24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool built 2011 filled with city water, separate 500 gallon spa but runs on same filter, Jandy pump with catridge filter, 3 water features, Polaris cleaner, Nature 2 system, electric opaque solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    You're in a tough spot since those covers didn't hold-up too well. When doing a SLAM, the pump must be running 24/7 and also using the filter. Adding algaecide - I would not. Most contain metal by-products (i.e. copper) which will only add to your problems. Since your pool and spa share the same filter, you may have to SLAM the pool and SPA at the same time. That's what most folks do anyway. But if you were able to run the SPA through the filter and continue to isolate the pool completely from the circulation or water/plumbing, then I suppose you could SLAM just the SPA and let the pool sit dormant a little while longer. But remember, the longer the pool sits, the worse the algae will get making pool start-up more difficult. In the end, it's up to you. If it were me, I'd probably gear-up to do them both and be ready for an early pool season. Easy for me to say though, I'm not the one doing the work.
    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: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    Would it just be easier to drain and refill the spa every few weeks then, so I don't have to start running everything? I haven't learned to open a pool/spa yet so I'd have to call the pool company out to do it. And if I'm opening one and not the other, I'd be paying for them to come out twice to essentially do half the job each time. Right now, the spa is relatively clean from the drain, clean, and refill I just performed. I guess I could repeat the process when the water gets really dirty again. The whole process only took at few hours with the small size of the spa. Can I add some chlorine now in an attempt to keep the algae at bay or do I need to get the filter going to add chlorine?
    24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool built 2011 filled with city water, separate 500 gallon spa but runs on same filter, Jandy pump with catridge filter, 3 water features, Polaris cleaner, Nature 2 system, electric opaque solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I don't see any reason why you can't add chlorine.

    Seeing as how you drained and filled it already, you should establish 20-40ppm CYA in the water. Us spa folks just use dichlor. You could use straight CYA granules if that's what you have on hand. Then just use plain bleach after that to maintain sanitation. Also, test and set PH, for your plaster.

    I just have a stand alone spa, so I'm not familiar with these combo set-ups. Does this thing have a pump that you can use to circulate the water in the spa?

    Also, there is a dedicated forum here that focuses on the opening and closing of pools. I can't imagine it to be very difficult. You could open the pool yourself, and if you had any difficulty with it, folks over there would answer any questions, and get you back on track. Just a suggestion, cause that's what I'd do.

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I have a pump, but I would have to open up the plumbing and start the filter to circulate the water, something I prefer not to do myself. Sure it may be easy to veteran pool owners, but I'm too scared I'd burn a motor, blow a pipe, etc and spend more money trying to fix it. I want to see how it's done with someone else doing it to my particular system before I attempt it myself.

    With entirely fresh water in it from the recent fill, I think CYA is nearly zero. I have both dichlor tabs and calhypo shock bags from when I didn't know all I needed was bleach, so I can use the dichlor to raise CYA and add more chlorine as needed. Have to admit though, I'm nervous about adding these chemicals without running the filter.
    24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool built 2011 filled with city water, separate 500 gallon spa but runs on same filter, Jandy pump with catridge filter, 3 water features, Polaris cleaner, Nature 2 system, electric opaque solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    We certainly don't want you to take chances and mess anything up that could damage equipment or cost you money. Maybe your maintenance folks can come-out and get things going for you a little early? Give you some equipment "how-to's" so you know how to operate everything, then come back to us for chemical assistance? One thing's for sure, that new water will begin to cloud-up and grow algae soon if not treated, so we'd like to help you with that once you have the equipment connected and running.
    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: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    tabs would be trichlor I believe. That stuff adds CYA as well. Calhypo does not, it adds calcium.

    You could toss in an aquarium pump to keep things mixed up.

    Chlorinated water doesn't have any special need to be filtered

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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I can get them out here perhaps in mid April which leaves another month to go. So you think I shouldn't add or do anything to the water until I get the filter going? Not even some chlorine and CYA as ant83 in the above post suggests?
    24,000 gallon in-ground plaster pool built 2011 filled with city water, separate 500 gallon spa but runs on same filter, Jandy pump with catridge filter, 3 water features, Polaris cleaner, Nature 2 system, electric opaque solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    It won't hurt at all to add some stabilizer (about 30 ppm) and keep some bleach handy to maintain some FC (2-4 ppm). Stir it around with a brush or something. If you can handle that, it's better than nothing for sure.
    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: Late winter spa check -- Gross stinky, green- brown water

    I'd suggest that you buy a couple pounds of dichlor from a pool shop, and chlorinate with that because it dissolves so well. Whatever is left over after you open can be added to the pool with no consequence.

    The pool calculator will show you how much to add before you switch over to bleach.

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