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Thread: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

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    I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Hello everyone. I'm the new owner of what I believe is a ~30 year old in-ground Sylvan pool. The pool inspector estimated its size to be 30-35,000 gallons. He recommended a drain and powerwash and said the pool needs to be re-plastered. The estimate on recommended fixes was $12K and that simply isn't in the cards right now. There are a few small things we are going to do, but otherwise we're going to go with what we got and hope we're swimming relatively soon. I believe the pool was last used in Summer 2014.

    The pool has been uncovered since the first week of April and I'm ashamed to say I've neglected it since. Water was clear when opened, but there was a lot of debris on the bottom and walls. As of yesterday 5/20, I had brown swamp water with a film. I could list the excuses for letting it get that bad, but none really matter at this point. Yesterday evening I put four 1lb. bags of shock into the pool; each bag supposedly good for 13.5K gallons. Also picked up a test kit/strips from Walmart a few weeks ago.

    And now the fun! I believe at one point the system was operating properly because the inspector didn't indicate any issues and my very unprofessional visual diagnosis agreed. Yesterday evening I turned on the filter and initially both returns bubbled. After a few seconds only the SE skimmer was visibly pushing water. Nothing happening with the DE skimmer. After a few minutes I couldn't notice any water flow anywhere. I turned off the filter and called it a night.

    My experience to pools is limited to skimming my grandfather's when I was a kid. I've done a little reading here, but I still feel pretty uneducated about my setup.

    Here is what I know about my setup:

    I have two skimmers, one in the SE, one in the DE. Neither have weirs. I believe they are the Sylvan old style combos. One hole at the bottom of each and returns below each as well. FIRST QUESTION: Can someone explain how these work? I saw on diagrams that a line from the main drain feeds each skimmer. Does this mean they don't pull water from the pool? It would seem they would given there are baskets, but I haven't been able to see or feel any suction from either skimmer.

    My equipment is located in the garage. The pool inspector said it all appears to be ~15 years old but has probably held up better due to being indoors. I have a DE filter. There are two lines coming into the strainer, each with a valve. I'm assuming one line is from the main drain and the other from the skimmers? SECOND QUESTION: Is this correct? There is also a waste line and then two lines off the outlet, each also with their own valve, but neither valve appears to work.

    Today's events: Thankfully it's been raining since last night so the shock didn't go to complete waste despite the fact the filter hasn't been running. The pool already looks better, now a medium green. I cannot see the bottom. I turned on the filter again today and same results as last night. The filter was running at what I think is about 25psi. I say I think because it appears the meter is bent and blocking the dial from moving freely. I'm going to get a new one. I noticed that one of the inlet valves leading to the strainer was closed. I opened it and turned on the filter again. Still didn't notice any water flow other than some bubbles from the returns. I then cleaned out the strainer; there was some debris but nothing terrible. Turned the filter back on and lost all pressure. And that's where I raise the white flag and moved on to another project.

    Some questions in addition to my previous two:

    3) Any insight on what might be going on?
    4) Any additional products I need to buy?
    5) I don't have a vaccuum and need to purchase one? What will be the best for an aged system?

    Much appreciated in advance.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Welcome to TFP!

    Here is the place to start learning in Pool School
    Pool School - Getting Started

    Here are a couple of tips
    I use the TF100 from TFTestkits.net and highly recommend it, get the XL size because you have algae and will need to do some extra testing. They also sell nice filter pressure gauges.

    Once you have one of the recommended test kits you will need to SLAM the pool to kill the algae. Here's how, Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    Answers to your questions
    If there is one hole in the bottom of the skimmer it goes to the pump and is not tied in to the bottom drain. If there is a second hole it is likely tied in to the drain.
    Yes the suction lines feeding the pump are most likely from the drain and skimmer.
    You probably need to backwash the filter, or maybe break it down and clean it, here is how, Pool School - Maintenance and Cleaning of Pool Filters
    Just buy a test kit and give us some test results and read Pool School.
    I don't own a vacuum so can't help with that one.
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Thanks for the tips. I've ordered the test kit. Played around with valves and different functions yesterday and could not get any pressure at the filter? Backwash, filter, recirc. All nothing. Any suggestions before I give up and have someone come out and look at it?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Is there water flowing from the pool returns? Maybe the pressure gauge is broken?
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    No longer water flowing from the pool returns so far as I can tell. Last week I could see flow from the SE return only. Recently it was some bubbles initially then nothing. Now it's nothing.

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Alright so I've made some progress despite the pool still being green. Spent some time yesterday cleaning the grids, they aren't in great shape. I will likely purchase replacements and install them once the water is in order. After adding DE the filter was initially at 12psi but moved up to 23psi after about 90 mins of running. Will need to backwash and add more DE. Trying to limit backwashes because I'm on a well and am trying to be careful with water usage. I purchased the TF-100 kit and here are my initial results from this morning.

    FC/TC: 0
    pH: guessing 8.4 to 8.6 (the mix was more purple than the highest color on the block)
    CH: 72
    TA: 120 or possibly more (Not sure if you're supposed to add drops till it turns pink or actually red as directions indicate.)
    CYA: 0

    So obviously I need chlorine, calcium, HCl, and stabilizer. My question is what order should I add these to work most efficiently? I think I saw to get pH in order first. Then I would assume stabilizer. Then I don't know. Can I do any at the same time?

    Thanks everyone.

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Hey everyone looking for some help. I backwashed my filter this morning, the second time in 2 days. Added more DE. It's been running for 3 hours and pressure is already 25+ and circulation is decreasing. Should I backwash again. At this rate I'll be going through DE like it's water. Losing water as well obviously. What should I do? Thanks.

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Sounds like the grids are catching "stuff".

    What color is the backwash discharge? Whitish, gray or gray-green ooze? There could be so much junk in the water it may take frequent washes to get it out.

    What size is your DE filter? Are you putting in the proper amount (by weight) of DE after backwash?

    If the grids have visible tears/holes (especially around where they attach to the manifolds) the pool will never get crystal even after you clean up the gunk - the DE will pass through the holes and cloud the water. This happened to me a couple years ago.

    Finally - as others mentioned, read pool school stuff. Very good. I will tell you now, you're going to need a BUNCH of chlorine (think gallons and gallons) as well as acid for the pH.

    If your CYA is really zero, I'd go with liquid stabilizer. I might get castigated for this because it is more expensive, but, IMO, you don't have the time to wait a week for the granular (cheaper) type to dissolve. I'll defer to the experts on this.

    There are others here with far more expertise than me and they helped out immensely.

    Also, it's always helpful to list your equipment in a signature line - see mine below - doesn't need to be complex. Helps us all help you.
    16K gal, IG Free-Form Plaster (1986), 1 HP Pentair Superflo pump, PAC FAB FNS-36 DE Filter, Polaris 280, Screened, Cool Deck.
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by viking68 View Post
    Sounds like the grids are catching "stuff".

    What color is the backwash discharge? Whitish, gray or gray-green ooze? There could be so much junk in the water it may take frequent washes to get it out.

    What size is your DE filter? Are you putting in the proper amount (by weight) of DE after backwash?

    If the grids have visible tears/holes (especially around where they attach to the manifolds) the pool will never get crystal even after you clean up the gunk - the DE will pass through the holes and cloud the water. This happened to me a couple years ago.

    Finally - as others mentioned, read pool school stuff. Very good. I will tell you now, you're going to need a BUNCH of chlorine (think gallons and gallons) as well as acid for the pH.

    If your CYA is really zero, I'd go with liquid stabilizer. I might get castigated for this because it is more expensive, but, IMO, you don't have the time to wait a week for the granular (cheaper) type to dissolve. I'll defer to the experts on this.

    There are others here with far more expertise than me and they helped out immensely.

    Also, it's always helpful to list your equipment in a signature line - see mine below - doesn't need to be complex. Helps us all help you.
    Thanks for the response. Yesterday morning the backwash discharge was a light brown color but the water cleared in ~1min which I didn't find unusual at the time given I had just cleaned the grids. I've added what I know to my sig. I have a 48sqft. filter. I added the recommended 6lbs. on Saturday. Filter pressure was up after 90 mins or so. Backwashed again Monday morning and added a little over 4lbs. of DE back. The filters didn't look to be in terrible shape; wouldn't say great either. A couple had some tears along the edges. As I mentioned, I'm hoping to clear the muck with these then will purchase new ones and change once the water is clear. I think I could probably get away with another clean of these, but I'd prefer to just start new.

    I added about 2/3 a gallon of acid yesterday. Have not retested since. I guess the plan is to try and pick up a new pressure gauge tonight to ensure that is not my issue. Anybody have any recommendations for ones available from Leslie's or other local avenues?

    Will probably backwash, add more DE and add 5lbs. of powdered stabilizer as well as shock all tonight and see what happens? I need to get this process moving. Anybody advise against this?
    ~23K gal IG plaster, Pentair Superflo VS, Leslie's Crystal Clear II (Hayward Micro-Clear DE4800) filter, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Your pool is at extreme risk of scaling due to very high PH and high TA. It is important to maintain PH between 7.2 and 7.8 at all times. Daily if required. We can help you reduce PH rise later but right now you need to control your PH.

    Chlorine must be maintained in a pool at all times. Daily as required. Chlorine level is set based on CYA level and the Chlorine CYA Chart. If your chlorine level drops below minimum level then your pool is unsanitary. Algae, bacteria and viruses can grow in your pool and greatly increase risk of person to person disease transmission. If your CYA is below 20 then use the numbers for 20. The chart doesn't go below 20 because your CYA should not either.

    Summary, keep PH between 7.2 and 7.8 and keep FC above minimum at all times.

    To kill algae in your pool follow this process, Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Just started SLAM last night. Could see an improvement this morning but still a ways to go. Looks like I will need to backwash once a day which reminds me I need more powder. I need to get pH down; it is still 8.2+. Added CYA last night which should help once dissolved (I think) but will add more acid this evening.

    Quick question: My initial test showed low CH. I didn't have time to test it this morning before work but I was going to stop and get more chemicals on the way home. Was considering using a combo of cal-hypo and bleach to raise FC again in hopes of increasing CH while shocking. Is there a way to determine how much added 53% cal-hypo will increase my CH?

    Thanks.
    ~23K gal IG plaster, Pentair Superflo VS, Leslie's Crystal Clear II (Hayward Micro-Clear DE4800) filter, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Hi all! Been shocking for a couple days now. I'd estimate I'm about 80% there. Would be done by now if I didn't have this thing they call a job and could tend to it throughout the day. Very thankful for all the help thus far. I can now see what's in my pool. It needs a vacuum bad; a lot of dirt/algae on the bottom. Intend to do that tomorrow morning. Plan is to set multi-port to waste, prime hose and connect to bottom of skimmer. Assume I need to fill pool at some point to regain loss from vacuuming. Any issues there?

    Also, while exploring I found these. One on each side of the SE. What are they?

    ~23K gal IG plaster, Pentair Superflo VS, Leslie's Crystal Clear II (Hayward Micro-Clear DE4800) filter, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    No issue, it is fine to add water after vacuuming to waste.

    It is better to host your pics on Photobucket (free), copy the IMG code and paste it in your post. This will embed the pics in the thread so people can see the pics. Lots of people can't, won't or don't want to click out of the forum to see pics. I don't know if your current pic host supports this function.
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    It is better to host your pics on Photobucket (free), copy the IMG code and paste it in your post. This will embed the pics in the thread so people can see the pics. Lots of people can't, won't or don't want to click out of the forum to see pics. I don't know if your current pic host supports this function.
    Sorry, I've corrected. Help with identifying these?
    ~23K gal IG plaster, Pentair Superflo VS, Leslie's Crystal Clear II (Hayward Micro-Clear DE4800) filter, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Looks like where you attach a "safety" rope, so that non swimmers don't accidentally step into the deep end. (Why anyone who can't swim would get into a pool in the first place is another thing)
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Looks like Mr Bruce gets the prize for the day!

    For one of these
    Safety Line Float Kits
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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Looking for some confirmation here. I've done about 8 or so tests since I've begun slamming. Each time my CH test has returned 72ppm. According to PoolMath, I need roughly 72lbs. of calcium chloride to bring it to 300ppm. I'm doing this corrrectly, right? I guess I'm second guessing because putting 72lbs. of anything in the pool seems like a lot. I did some reading in one of the calcium chloride threads and someone mentioned Excel ice melt. Well Sam's Club had these for $21 each which was the cheapest I've seen anywhere. Has anyone used this? It says pure calcium chloride on the front but then lists other chemicals on the back. If OK, how is this stuff added to the pool?

    ~23K gal IG plaster, Pentair Superflo VS, Leslie's Crystal Clear II (Hayward Micro-Clear DE4800) filter, TF-100 Test Kit

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Looking for any suggestions here. First want to thank everyone for all their help. Our pool was brown in mid-May and we've been swimming for about 3-4 weeks now. After weeks of doubt, my wife was very impressed I was able to turn it around without professional help.

    All that being said, I still have no clue how big my pool is. I cannot get PoolMath, dosages, and the Pool Size Calculator to sync. The inspector initially estimated it was around 32-35K gallons and estimates entered into the Pool Size Calc generate around that number. However, over the past couple weeks I have not been able to confirm that based on PoolMath recommended additions of chlorine. During my SLAM, I based additions on the 34K gallon estimate and added chemicals accordingly. No confirmation tests until the next morning. Levels in the morning would always come back reasonably less than my target. Once we started swimming, I started doing more and more tests in an attempt to get in a routine of adding a certain amount each day to keep at appropriate levels. That's when I started questioning the size of my pool (thinking it might be much smaller) because I started getting FC readings ~1.5X my intended target. Also, a coworker showed me a picture of his pool which appeared to be similar size and shape and he said his was 20K gallons. So I started doing PoolMath based on 22K gallons about 1.5 weeks ago. Since that time, we've only swam on the weekends so typically I will wake up and test and if FC is at 4 for example, I will add recommended chlorine to take FC to 5.5 but haven't really tested again because I'm not concerned it's too low and am swimming. I'll also note I'm unsure of my current CYA level as a I was getting inconsistent results there and ran out of reagent. More is on the way. My best guess is it's between 25 and 35. For various reasons, we are currently filtering at night and turning it off during the day. Yesterday for example, I got home from work, turned on the filter for an hour to mix everything up and got a FC reading of 2.5. After sunset, I added the recommended 96oz. of 10% chlorine (Pool Essentials brand from WalMart) to get FC to 6. This morning checked again and FC was 8. The FAS-DPD test is really hard to goof, and I know my pool is definitely >14K gallons, so what gives? This shouldn't be that hard.

    My pool gets the most sun in the morning and early afternoon, and is almost fully shaded by 5-6PM. I've checked dates on all the chlorine I've bought and all has been <2 months old. Is an hour of filtering not long enough to allow pool to mix after sitting all day? Any other suggestions as to what I've been doing wrong?
    ~23K gal IG plaster, Pentair Superflo VS, Leslie's Crystal Clear II (Hayward Micro-Clear DE4800) filter, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    What is the shape and average depth of your pool?
    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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    Re: I've neglected my new (to me) pool.

    Did you ever truly finish your SLAM? (i.e., passed an OCLT)? That could explain your chlorine disappearing.

    After passing, you should be able to dose chlorine with pump running and check your levels after 30 minutes. You should be able to zone in on your capacity (gallons) almost exactly. Especially at night with no Sun on Pool and nobody swimming. PoolMath is VERY accurate that way
    15,000 gallon free form Viking fiberglass pool. Hayward Star-Clear Plus C12002 cartridge filter. Hayward Swim Pure Plus T-15 SWG. Testing with TF-100 Kit. 2 speed 1.5HP Supreme pump. Dolphin Nautilus robotic cleaner

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