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Thread: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    I am new to forum and glad I found it! Looks like a great place and after I have some time to read tutorials, pool school, etc. I am certain I will have a ton of questions...but I need a couple pointers just to get started.

    I just purchased a foreclosure, great house with a Kidney 18x24 in ground pool (see signature for details). It has a safety cover and was professionally closed...just a short 4 years ago!

    I have not uncovered it yet (winter came back here in upstate NY!) but I did peak in. Looks like algae and blackness galore....but I doubt there is a lot of debris in there as the cover was intact and tight on the edges.

    I am not new to pools, but just some casual experience with an above ground. I have been in Engineering and Industrial Maintenance Management by entire life, so I am technically capable...and I will be getting the test kit and learning all I can...but I have never even heard of a "Diatomaceous Earth" filter and I have no experience with the Intellichlor system and need some pointers on what to expect with it so I can plan "opening day" a bit.

    Can anyone give me some pointers on this filter type and what I should do first with it since it has been sitting for 4 years?

    Do I need to do anything different with the chlorine generator system or do I get the pool shocked, deswamped, etc. and then simply "turn it on" kind of thing to maintain once I have everything leveled out?

    Thanks.
    11K gal, IG vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, IntelliChlor Chlorine Generator

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Hello and welcome to TFP! From the looks of things, you'll need to do a "SLAM" to clear that water once you get the pool operational. SLAM link below in my sig. I'll have to defer the IntelliChlor to the next poster, but for the filter, this may give you an idea of what they're like: Cleaning a Pentair FNS Plus Filter Troubleshooting - YouTube. Just sitting that long, I suspect opening it up and inspecting/cleaning the grids will be needed. Do some YouTube searches and you'll see many more videos about DE filters and how they operate. Not a big deal once you know the basics. Once you get really into it, we can help more. The filter and equipment will need to be functioned chcked and operational before doing the SLAM though. The water must be circulating.

    Make yourself at home here and check back anytime to ask all the questions you need to. Great to have you with us.
    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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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Thanks! I appreciate the link...was exactly what I was looking for. I will disassemble the filter once the weather warms up a little. I will post back when I get ready to go...
    11K gal, IG vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, IntelliChlor Chlorine Generator

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Good luck on your adventure!
    TFP Moderator
    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    You certainly did find a great place, it has helped me a ton in just a few weeks. I went from a swamp green mosquito breeding ground to a clear pool in a little over a week and under $50 in chemicals following the SLAM method. You will probably get curious in the downtime and start looking at other methods on the web or at your pool store, but don't get tempted! I spend close to $300 trying all that stuff and STILL had a green pool. TFP SLAM method is the only thing that worked... and the cheapest!
    Jeff || 19,000g IGP || SwimClear 3025 Cartridge Filter || Hayward TriStar 1.39 THP pump || K-2006 Test Kit || 80% Surface Coverage Heliocol || Hayward Controller || Hayward Phoenix 4X4 || "Solar Rings" || PoolSkim

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Quote Originally Posted by censored View Post
    You certainly did find a great place, it has helped me a ton in just a few weeks. I went from a swamp green mosquito breeding ground to a clear pool in a little over a week and under $50 in chemicals following the SLAM method. You will probably get curious in the downtime and start looking at other methods on the web or at your pool store, but don't get tempted! I spend close to $300 trying all that stuff and STILL had a green pool. TFP SLAM method is the only thing that worked... and the cheapest!
    Thanks...I definitely will stay the course! Moving in this week...what a chore, I hate moving. Looking forward to warmer weather and getting the cover off the pool...then the fun starts!
    11K gal, IG vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, IntelliChlor Chlorine Generator

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    I hear you on the moving! NOT fun but so worth it for the pool!

    Let us know when you are ready to tackle the pool and we will be here ready to help you.

    Good job on planning on getting the test kit! If you are seeing green/black water you will need the TF-100 XL to clear it. See my siggy for where to buy it.

    I can't wait see what we have to work with. Make sure to take pics and share them!

    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: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    What Kim said!! She will be your cheerleader!

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Take lots of pics. We love the green -> blue transition.

    COMPLETED BUILD THREAD - 15'x29' rectangular offset shotcrete pool; 14,100 gal; 5'x7' raised spa with 400k btu fire feature; 7' spillover; 25' leuder stone raised bond wall w/waterfall; Pentair SWG; Pentair VS (pool); Pentair 3/4hp feature pump; 1hp spa blower; Pentair Cartridge filter; Pentair “Easy Touch 8” wireless; Dolphin Oasis Z5 robot; Solar Hydronics iSwim solar panels; Mansard Screen Enclosure; walnut travertine deck; 1 very happy kiddo.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Welcome, Ulrick!
    I have recovered a black swamp and have tips for you, but I also have considerations for you that I don't want to overwhelm you with but that are worth discussion BEFORE you start your opening So take your time having a read through in tandem with pool school articles and come back with any questions...I'll try to keep an eye

    Below, ive retrieved a previous post of mine designed to help break down the black water recovery.

    In your case, however, because you have a salt water generator, I might give a slightly different emphasis due to some emerging info I've received since I am currently switching to swg.

    In essence, knowing what I know today, I might have used a trash pump with replacement water on the first part of the slam.

    That is because with the combo of my being on well and using Metal sequestrants that break down into phosphates to prevent iron staining, PLUS having phosphates from the natural breakdown of organic matter in the swamp, I have a phosphate level that is about 25-times normal at 25,0000 ppb. Using the TFP method of keeping FC at 7.5% of CYA, this has NEVER been a problem and I've never gotten algae (which shows that pool store hype about phosphates is mostly all wet )

    BUT incredibly high levels like mine occasionally are shown to sometimes create a unique knd of scale on SWG plates, so swg manufacturers are starting to cite really high phosphates in troubeshooting, though they're not giving hard guidelines just yet as there are to many variables to simplify.

    For this reason, and only out of an abundance of caution in an area of developing info, you might be best served taking the trash pump/water replacement approach. It will also shorten your slam a good deal.

    Because you have a DE filter, which filters more finely, I also think the "trash pump" approach will save you some hassle having to monitor and bump up/add DE to the filter to some degree.

    In ALL cases, DO NOT ADD CYA until you've broken down ammonia or it will keep converting the cya into more ammonia.

    Here's a backgrounder in black water tips

    I had a foreclosure swamp, black, that I recovered using the TFP way. I had water table issues and a vinyl liner, so recovery as opposed to draining was the route I went.

    Here's some starter info.

    Approach #1 - Using TFP SLAM with Manual Removal (read up in pool school) Hand rake all debris blind from bottom, wearing gloves and maybe mask (I had added 5 gal chlorine before starting this just to try to knock down any pathogens, but the ammonia likely ate that chlorine immediately...)

    If black, its likely your cya will have turned to ammonia. You can get an ammonia kit from fish store to read, or you can simply test the first few additions of chlorine to tell -- this is the general protocol:
    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.

    You will need to babysit the pump basket for clogs and backwash/bump the filter if DE very frequently for the first few days...every time pressure is 25% above normal.

    If you have a main drain, it will help to keep that valve partly closed when first filtering to avoid clogs. You will not be able to use a system pool vac (manual) for a while. After start up, proceed with slam but be extra vigilant never to let chlorine level drop belw high end of slam rate, whch is based on cya ratio.

    Pros: This works, but is bit labor intensive and requires at least a free schedule for the first few days. In Our case, hauled 20 wheelbarrows of crud. Breaking down the ammonia makes it difficult to get started on slam.

    Approach #2 - Trash Pump, partial refil, then Slam. In this approach, you rent a Heavy duty trash pump, set it on bottom, and pump off water and sludge from bottom. If vinyl liner, do not pump lower than a foot in shallow end. Monitor the pump because we have seen an odd case where force of pump has ripped liner.

    For any other surface than vinyl and IF your water table is solid (note: fiberglass shells can pop) you could continue pumping, then clean surface, refill, balance chemicals and then SLam to remove algae and pathogens from pipes etc. it will be a much shorter slam.

    Pros: Faster recovery, less labor, and a bit less chlorine to recover because your concentration of ammonia would be diluted, as is the degree of other crud, ergo slam goes faster.

    Approach 2.5 - Sheet Method for High Water Table or alternate for Vinyl on Approach #2:

    In any surface with a high water table, or water table is unknown, or vinyl for full water change, you can use method 2 and add a taped sheet of visqueen (available in boxes at hardware store) over the surface of the old water that's getting pumped. Add freshwater simultaneously on top of the plastic sheet to keep clean water and sludgy stuff separate. When refilled, remove the sheet. You will have mostly clean water that will be easy to quickly balance and Slam.

    Hope this gives you some ideas...but let us know your specifics, and be sure to read up on two important concepts here: the cya:FC ratio and how to slam

    You will love your troublefreepool pool one day, I promise!
    Here's the pictographs of my recovery:
    image.jpg
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Thanks Swampwoman...I appreciate the post!

    I am getting close to the SLAM. I got the cover cleaned off and opened a bit to see inside. I can see the bottom without to much trouble, including the drain. There is not a lot debris in the pool. The water itself is pretty clear...I filled a quart water bottle and it is only tinted slightly brown.

    There is algae on the pool side about 1/8 thick in most places. I was able to find the return jet plugs fairly easy and removed them and fired up the pumping system. Ran it for about an hour and did not get much of anything in the baskets (either the skimmer or the pump basket). I left the main drain closed during this time to avoid any issues there.

    I still have not completely taken the cover off and have replaced it nice and tight back on whenever I did open up an edge. I figured not letting the sun at it until I was ready to SLAM was a good idea so the algae does not take off.

    I got the test kit from here and tested everything tonight:

    PH is off the scale on the bottom, slightly lighter than the lowest number on the chart so I assume in the 6.6 range or something like that?
    FC, CC and TC are all zero.
    CYA is 0
    TA is 20 (two drops is all it took)
    CH is 25 (on drop)

    Now I need to know where to go from here I guess:

    I was planning to try and manually vacuum the scum off the sides with the hand vac to the skimmer...it is fairly thick on there and I figured I could get it off rather than just going after it in the SLAM process. Is that a good idea to try?

    I also thought I needed to raise PH and CYA before starting based on the reading I have done, but after reading swampwomans post maybe I should not do that?

    I will post pictures once I get the cover off. Any thoughts and ideas or answers to questions above would be great.

    I am thinking about going after it this weekend as the wife is anxious to get in the pool!

    Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!
    11K gal, IG vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, IntelliChlor Chlorine Generator

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Yes, removing as much organic material as possible will make the SLAM go faster and use less chlorine. It is important to keep PH between 7.2 and 7.8.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Well, were you able to get to it this weekend?

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Took a while to clean the area around the pool, pressure was the concrete, remove all the grass from the perimeter, etc. Then got cover off and have been working it ever since.

    Here's the first look

    20160428_185635.jpg

    Used a leaf net and got as much of the algae out as I could (not a lot of debris in it, the cover was pretty tight...a few sticks and leaves, but not nothing major...but a boatload of algae!).

    Here's a small look at the "stuff" I was getting out, two half wheel burrows of it before I was done!

    20160430_160635.jpg

    I then opened the filter and took out the filter element so I could vacuum to waste (since I only have a 2 position valve, I could not vacuum to waste without going through the filter in backwash).

    Here's the filter when I initially opened it...not terrible.

    20160428_195549.jpg

    I vacuumed a a lot, but this of course dropped the pool level and I had to fill off my well with a hose...which took a long time. So by Sunday, I had a lot of the "stuff" off the bottom and was ready for some bleach. I put in a couple gallons to help clear it up so I could see a bit better. Here it is filling for the second time so I could start the pump and add some bleach (no filter in, just wanted to get some clarity).


    20160430_150745.jpg


    I guess the pics are too much, says I am at my quota. I will post more if it will let me after.
    11K gal, IG vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, IntelliChlor Chlorine Generator

  15. Back To Top    #15
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    It's going to be nice to see this one transform over the next several days.
    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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  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Not sure how to handle the quota, so I will post more pics another time if it will let me.

    After I got a little clarity so I could see to vacuum better, I put the filter in and charged it with DE. Started vacuuming...filter filled up pretty quick, so I had to clean it a couple times and add DE and go after it again.

    Got most of the big stuff off the bottom and then another jug a bleach for the night, cleaned the filter and let it run over night. Next morning, filter was ready for another cleaning and water was fairly clear. Ready for some brushing. Did that, let it run and clean for a few hours...vacuuming a bit as I went.

    Then cleaned filter and let it run some more. By end of day Sunday, it was looking pretty good. Monday after work, I cleaned the filter again, recharged the DE, vacuumed what was on the bottom, backwashed, added DE, added bleach and let it go over night again. Tuesday, same thing....by then it is looking pretty darned good.

    Just realized I forgot to mention in the first post about the test results.

    Initial testing:

    PH = 6.7
    TC = 0
    FC = 0
    CC = 0
    CYA = 0
    TA = 20
    CH = 25

    I put in borax to raise the PH and decided to leave CYA alone until I could get the inital cleaning done...which ended up working pretty well (I think).

    Tested again on Tuesday after work and vacuuming and:

    PH = 7.9
    TC = 9.5
    FC = 9
    CC = .5
    CYA = 0
    TA = 100
    CH = 75

    It was fairly clear water and clean sides (other than stains, but I will get to that in a minute) so I decided to tweak it and get the numbers a bit better.

    Added 48oz of stabilizer and 15oz of muriatic acid to lower the PH a bit

    Tested Wednesday after work and:

    PH = 7.2
    TC = 15.5
    FC = 14.5
    CC = 1
    CYA = 45
    TA = 110
    CH = 75
    Borax = 25

    Thats where I left it and will go after it again this weekend and see what I can do. I wish I could post the current pic, it is pretty amazing.

    The only issues I have now, and I am hoping for ideas, is a slight green tint...the water is crystal clear so I am believe the liner (which I think should be gray based on what I can see above the water line) is stained slight green. I have scrubbed the heck out of it with a brush and it does not change. Maybe is green by design? Also, there is a blackish line all the way around under the water line...again, stained on and no amount of scrubbing it getting it off. Any ideas on how to remove that?

    Any thoughts on the process? Things I should have done differently? Again...wish I could post the final pic...maybe tomorrow my quote resets or something?

    This site has been invaluable to me for this process...and to be honest, it was a boatload of work but not nearly as bad as I expected!

    Thanks.
    11K gal, IG vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, IntelliChlor Chlorine Generator

  17. Back To Top    #17
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Things to do differently? Not really, although I would round-up your CYA to 50 and adjust FC to 20 for now. I'm surprised in a pool that green with no CYA and FC you didn't have ammonia, but you seem to be holding FC and CYA so that's great. I wouldn't obsess over the liner or anything else right now, just the SLAM. Anything else that needs to be done will be secondary to getting the water algae-free first. Who knows, the days/weeks ahead of properly maintained FC levels may help resolve some issues, we don't know. But focus on the SLAM page for now until you pass those 3 SLAM criteria and you can tackle all the other things soon enough.
    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!

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    I am jealous of your speed. Sand filter and time is killing me. Put your photos on a hosting site like photo bucket then add the .Img URL here.

    33k IG Gunite, Hayward T-15 Cell SWG, Hayward Sand Filter S210T , Pump Wisper Flo 1.5 HP, Test Kit K-2006

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    Have you tried linking your photos from Photobucket? That's what many of us do here on TFP. Upload your pics to Photobucket (free), then copy & paste the IMG code for that pic from Photobucket to your TFP post. Works great.

    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!

  20. Back To Top    #20
    SCon36's Avatar
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    Re: Help with opening pool after 4 years!

    I can't wait to see how this progresses!
    SCon36

    24,000 Gallon IG vinyl pool (16x36x8) with Hayward S200 sand filter and Hayward pump and heat pump. Built August 2011. I use a Taylor K-2005 test kit with a K-1515 add on.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIgL...0MyAw&index=29

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