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Thread: Where do I start...

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Unhappy Where do I start...

    The intro is a bit lengthy but there's just two questions...

    I've been a pool owner for about 8 years now and have navigated that time with varying degrees of success. One of my biggest challenges is the time required and with kids starting sports and extra curricular stuff that's getting worse. I've read a lot on this site and forums and understand most of it pretty well but still end up with a lot of questions. I have a lot to ask and I want to make sure I do it in the right ways so that hopefully others can learn from my pain

    The quick and dirty of my situation is my pool was green all winter, I was too busy to get it handled. Wife wants it ready for summer and pestered me in to hiring a 'pool guy'. 4 weekly visits later and it looks the worst it ever has. He says it's doing what it's supposed to, algae is dying. I don't think so, never been this way before. It's dark green, can't see more than a foot through the water. Clean the filter an it's too dirty to move water within a couple of days. He's not addressing that. CYA was way high last I checked. He doesn't seem to care or maybe know what that is. I think my filter is too small and so is my pump. I think the cellulose is a slime-ing up with algae worse than DE would.

    Bottom line is I'm ready to start over and look at everything. Equipment, drain and fill, SWG, robot, etc. My goal is to have a setup that is as effort free as possible. I'll spend some $$$ but I want to do it right. I could post a lot more info but I don't want to overwhelm. I think I need to walk through my situation with the community here a step at a time.

    So my first two questions are:
    1. Where do I start? Equipment? Upgrade my setup?
    1. What's the best way to work through all these different aspects in this community? Multiple threads? Different forums? One at a time?

    Thanks in advance!
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

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    Re: Where do I start...

    You have a green monster. For now, stick to this thread right here and ask any questions you need to. If you need more specialized help, one of the experts will likely send you off to a subforum to ask that particular question there. From what I've seen of the moderators, they'd prefer you to stick to a single thread for now.

    So let's get that green monster tamed. Your first step is to get a proper test kit (TFTestkits.net), either a K-2006 or a TF-100, and get us a full set of numbers from your own kit. The pool stores often get testing wrong - you can get as many different answers as you do tests - even for the same sample of water.

    In the mean time, start adding bleach and brushing it around daily to at least slow down the mess in your pool!

    Edit - Look into the "XL" option and a TF-100 - you'll need to test a LOT to work through your algae problem.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Where do I start...

    Thanks for the input. I'll follow your advice on working through piece by piece and listengin to the experts/mods.

    I have the TF-100 just haven't used it yet. Was trying to let the pool guy tackle this but I'm losing confidence in him. To back up a little bit, if I'm going to do new equipment (pump, filter, SWG) should I handle that first? My thought is a bigger pump and filter would provide longer cycles. Also, a SWG would mitigate me forgetting to add tabs/chlorine. I'm willing to spend the $$$ on that stuff but wanted get thoughts from the community. Will it help me with those things.

    Couple of other notes: I get the SoCal 'Santa Ana' winds and every day afternoon breezes. Old neighborhood, mature trees I always have leaves on the surface during the afternoon and filter gets dirty quickly. When buying liquid I usually buy 2 GALs of pool chlorine from Home Depot at $9 vs. bleach @ about $3 for less than a gallon. The pool chlorine says it has twice the chlorine as the bleach. Thoughts?
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    Quote Originally Posted by MouseMan54 View Post
    So my first two questions are:
    1. Where do I start? Equipment? Upgrade my setup?
    1. What's the best way to work through all these different aspects in this community? Multiple threads? Different forums? One at a time?

    Thanks in advance!
    Welcome!

    First, fire the pool guy. What you've wasted paying him could have bought a lot of useful stuff.
    Second, order a proper test kit. I will second triptyx's suggestion to get the TF100 XL. You'll be burning through the FAS-DPD reagents at an amazing rate so you might as well order doubles right now.

    Your pump and filter do seem undersized to me. I have the same size pump and a slightly bigger filter and less than half the pool you do. The insta-clog filter is not from the cellulose but from algae and being undersized. DE would clog up just as fast. As an aside, cellulose does seem to not want to backwash as cleanly as DE. That's why I backwash briefly, then pull it apart and blast the screens with the hose, and then finish backwashing mine.

    That being said... the first thing to do is get an accurate CYA reading. If the pool was fed a steady diet of trichlor pucks or buckets of dichlor "shock" it's going to be so high that to get enough bleach in there to get ahead of the algae will require this

    You might discover that a partial drain (I know, painful to think about in California) is in order to reduce the CYA, and you could rent a trash pump and connect it to the vacuum and get rid of most of the sludge along with the excess CYA. But again, that's dependent on the CYA.

    Replacing equipment.... tough call. It'll get a workout clearing the swamp, but once the pool is clear again, it should be able to keep up if you don't have a huge amount of blown-in debris. For comparison, I keep my pool sparkling with 3 hours of filter time per day and a backwash/manual cleanout twice a year. So you'd maybe be looking at 6 or 8 hours a day and a cleaning every other month.

    The problem as I see it is that replacing equipment will set you back a couple weeks, unless you have the time or skills to install it all yourself. This is the busiest time of the year for pool service people, and if you've done much reading here, you'll know they can be flakey. Two more weeks without treating that pool and the water may get thick enough to walk on. If you want to upsize the filter and pump and maybe add a saltwater generator or some automation, great. But get the pool clean first. Then arrange for the upgrades during the off-season when stuff is in stock and pool guys are hungry for work.

    Clearing the swamp can be done in a week or so if you're dedicated. You'll be past master at filter cleaning my the time it's done, I'm sure. But what I think is happening is that the pool service is hitting the algae hard, but not sustaining it. It grows fast once it gets going. You need to kill it faster than it can reproduce. Knock it down and don't let it get back up. Kick it again and again and again while it's down until it's all dead. Your guy knocks it down and it gets back up and grows some more in the interval.

    Have you looked through some of my Inspirational Threads? Scroll through the links and look at the pictures. You'll see it can be done.

    Whether you want to keep your test results in this thread or start a new one in the algae forum is up to you. If you do make a spectacular green-to-clean story, you may wish you'd started a second thread so I could put it in my hall of fame. Equipment questions belong in the equipment forum.
    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 pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    Welcome to TFP!

    My vote is to fire the pool guy, order a test kit, do a SLAM to clear up your pool and then see how you feel about the equipment.

    I use the TF100 from TFTestkits.net. Get the XL version for your SLAM.

    This is how we clear up green pools, Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    This is how we maintain pools,
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
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    Re: Where do I start...

    *note to responders*

    He said he already has the TF100 and just hasn't used it yet....

    +1 on kicking the pool guy to the curb...



    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.0 HP pump
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    Re: Where do I start...

    I suggest the sequence of...

    A. Keep all your "story" on this page....this is important

    B. Fire the Pool Guy.....you will be far more knowledgeable

    C. Stay out of the Pool Store. Trust your test results and stay with us for help.

    1. Start the equipment and see what you have. Some things may look bad cosmetically but turn out to be good performers

    2. Replace equipment that obviously needs it. Everything might work or all of it may be bad.

    3. Now you have a system that works which you will need to complete the SLAM.

    4. Do the SLAM, we'll help with the chemistry but the article in Pool School is pretty complete

    5. Finish the SLAM and assess where you are. You might have some staining which we can work on together but I think it's important to get your equipment functioning and your water balanced BEFORE you work on the stains.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Where do I start...

    Hi again and thanks for the replies. I've been out of town for a few days so I'm trying to get back to formulating my plan for this.

    First here are my test results from last night:
    FC: 14.5
    CC: 1.5
    TA: 90
    CH: 580 to 600
    CYA: Probably 150 to 200 (see pics)

    I did the testing at night, indoors. Here are my current thoughts:
    1. I don't know that I want to do a SLAM to recover from this. It seems to me that I will spend less time and $$$ if I just drain and fill. They CYA is high and I will likely spend less on my water bill than on chems. If it takes 50+ Gals. of chlorine to do this, at $3.50 per gallon I will spend at least $175 right there. This doesn't count the hours per day I'll spend. Plus, as I've noted before, I really don't have time to spend on it every day so my probability for success with SLAMing it back to health is low right there. I know the drought sucks, but in Riverside we are +90% ground water and all reports are that the supply is stable. Doesn't mean I should waste water but I'm not sure I have a better option. We are at summer rates so the 39,000 gals would cost me about $215. I can drain to the sewer. So:

    Thoughts on draining? Other suggestions?
    Advice on draining? Protecting the plaster if it gets hot? Sweep as I drain? Clean after I drain? (Note: I would drain with a sub. pump, not filter pump)
    Other thoughts?

    Here are some pics:

    Green Monster, notice how little of the hose you can see:
    20160524_025930763_iOS.jpg

    Light on, it can't penetrate more that ~8 feet.
    20160524_030101090_iOS.jpg

    CYA Test View, in the first test, in the pic you can see a little of the black dot. Top view:
    20160524_042931453_iOS.jpg
    Side View:
    20160524_042943932_iOS.jpg

    I did a second CYA test. See next post.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Apparently I've exceeded my photo quota??
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    With a CYA that high, you really have no choice but to drain water, at least some of it. So I would agree ..... if you don't drain everything (usually we don't do a 100% drain), drain enough water to lower your CYA to about 30-40 ppm. That will help eliminate a lot of mess and excess CYA. Once the pool is filled-up again, you can perform the SLAM much more effectively with less bleach. Now if you have no ground stability issues and decide to do a 100% drain/clean, you may still need to run your water at a slightly higher FC level for a short period to purge any algae and junk in the pipes and filtration, but it will save a considerable amount of time.
    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
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  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Where do I start...

    I would likely try to the the 100%, just to be as clean an fresh as possible. Do I need to scrub the sides as the water drops? Keep rinsing it all down? Try to keep the plaster wet?

    I don't have high water table. Pools been in the ground for 50 years. Plaster is about 13 or 14 years old.
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    Some people will take advantage of that time to acid wash the plaster or do any other treatments that may be required. But honestly, if it's just algae and some organic staining, once you fill it back up you can maintain an elevated chlorine level for a short time and that should take care of that. Really depends on the condition of your plaster. Once you do the fill with fresh water, post back with an update and we can help you from there.
    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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  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Where do I start...

    Welcome to TFP!

    First, given the amount of debris in your pool, I highly suggest you get basic, plain white coffee filters for brew coffee pots and strain some pool water (taken from 18-24" down) and then retest the CYA on the strained pool water. You only need to strain enough for the cya test. I did it with some rubber bands over a very tall cup. When the drip slowed to annoying, I carefully removed the filter, discarded it, put on a new one, and added more pool water. I got enough pretty fast this way, rather than waiting forever on the dirty filter. I got a false CYA reading of 25 on my green swamp before straining it - 0 after. Retesting after it was clear (and after I had added CYA) confirmed this method nicely. Given you've got $200+ at stake for a drain - let's make sure your CYA really is at jackpot levels IMO.

    You've got some great people in the comments already and I know they will guide you through this - along with the TONS of information already on this forum. Pool school is amazing, but beyond that you can search the forum pretty easily with great success sometimes too! That being said, it is really important you keep posting things here so these experts can follow your progress and you should still ask questions that you don't find bulletproof answers to elsewhere on this site, posted by an expert, moderator, or otherwise qualified person. You'll see what I mean.

    They will answer your questions better than me, but I'll just throw out that unless you have a really important reason to do 100% drain I'd just suggest draining (from the bottom where most of the worst stuff is) to the point that when you fill it up again, you'd have the CYA you want. For one, it saves $30-$45, and two, the water at the top of the pool really isn't that bad to sanitize, even though the bottom might be a sludge of nightmares. I also suggest doing a full test (skip cya none in fill water) of the water you'll be filling the pool with. It will help us make educated guesses on how much of what chemicals you should order/buy before you even start the drain. That way you pool doesn't end up with too low or too high of ph for long, calcium isn't too low for too long, you've got alk up if you'll need it, and of course we'll need to estimate how much bleach you'll want on hand to start with.

    Also, I used http://poncatechsquad.com/Dan/Chlorine/ to check bleach prices within 50 miles of riverside zip code. Only result was a Costco in 90210, which could be good if you have a membership already and a vehicle to haul it, they have it in stock, etc.

    You also have the option of just using WalMart 8.25% bleach which, depending on your sales tax, might be around $3 per 121 oz. They may also carry/have in stock the 10% bleach "Pool Essentials Liquid Shock: or something in the garden center/pool corner. Many walmarts have that on rollback for $2.50 + tax for 128oz.

    You may also find a pool store that has 2.5 gallon refillable jugs for 12.5% bleach since there is a HASA manufacturing/distributing in northern CA. Those places are almost always the cheapest BY FAR. Worth a few calls to pool stores IMO. Only thing their really good for on a regular basis.
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  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Where do I start...

    OK. I started my drain. Here it is this morning after 12+ hours pumping...

    Pic1 Pic2 Pic3


    So the algae is still stuck to the wall pretty good. Since I'm not able to tend to it constantly as it drains the algee is basically drying on the walls. If I rinse as it drains it's not too bad. So my question is how do I get it off? Can I power-wash the plaster? Will that damage the plaster?

    I'd like to finish the drain this afternoon/evening then clean and start the fill. I'll test my fresh water next and post results for advice on startup.

    I really think I'm going to go SWG so I'll be posting it that forum for advice on what to get.
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    If I had a pressure washer I know I'd be using it on that. Get it off the walls and into the pool so it can get pumped out! Otherwise it'll just end up clogging the filter later. Obviously if the plaster is in bad shape and the washer starts dissolving it, you have to stop.
    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!

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Where do I start...

    Also on two sides notes:

    #1 - I'd like to clean up the pics in my earlier post to help clean up the flow of this thread but can't seem to delete them from the post. I attached them? Advice?

    #2 - I've seen in other posts here folks recommending Photo Bucket. As of today Photo Bucket sucks! Ads, ads, ads. SOOO SLOWWWW... I suggest Picasa Web, Flickr or maybe Tumblr (never used it).
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    Leave the old pics alone. Otherwise someone reading this thread later will be left clueless.
    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!

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Where do I start...

    If you'd like to "clean up" old images, move them into your new remote account at Picasa, or wherever, and then you could edit your original posts to include the new links. That would help a lot towards still having the original images available but letting you keep going with new images.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Where do I start...

    Just picked up 10 Gals of 10% to get started when I re-fill. I know I'll need more but this was a quick WalMart run at lunch. I also still have tabs I'll use to help bring up initial CYA. Is it OK to put those in the skimmer to fast dissolve? I'm assuming I want to run shock level FC when I fill to make sure all residual algae is dead, correct? For how long?

    Fresh water test results still coming. Do I need all the tests? Also, what's the shelf life of the reagents in the TF-100?
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Where do I start...

    Not the skimmer. A floater or in-line chlorinator, but not directly in the skimmer. Too acidic. You will use the bleach to increase FC to 12 until you pass all 3 SLAM criteria listed on the SLAM page (link below). The TF-100 reagents will easily last all season and some of next as long as they remain indoors away from direct sunlight.
    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

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    Re: Where do I start...

    OK. Update.

    Almost done draining
    Got some cleaning to do
    Some staining
    More stains
    Used to think it was smart to dump the powder shock into the path of the return

    Not to concerned about the stains. The kids don't care, they just wanna swim. I have a lot of other work to do to make this backyard and 'oasis' anyway. Maybe in a couple more years I'll get it re-plastered and replace the hideous tile (imo).

    Here are my fill water test results.
    FC .5
    CC .5
    TA 140
    CH 150
    CYA 0

    Not sure why there would be CCs in fresh water. The fill pipe hasn't been used in a couple of weeks so I let it run for 5 mins. Maybe I'll test the sink water later.

    Any other advice on startup?
    Appx. 39,000 gal., in-ground plaster. 48 SqFt Pentair DE grid filter, 1 HP Pentair single speed pump, Circupool RJ-60+ SWG (seen here). Currently using Cellulose instead of DE. Hayward XL suction sweep. TF-100.

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