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Thread: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

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    New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Hello all,

    First off, huge thanks for this forum and all the helpful advice I have gathered already from it, it is truly appreciated. Anyways, I recently purchased my house this past winter that has an approx. 30 x 15 x 5 oval pool (15,000 gallons), Pentair Star DE filter, and from the looks of everything the previous owners maintained everything decently...so anyways here is long-ish summary on what is going on, sorry for the wall of text!

    I rebuilt the deck surrounding the pool early this summer, which greatly delayed me in actually opening the pool. By the time I got around to pulling the winter cover off, it was covered in pretty nasty algae and debris from being cooked out in the hot sun all spring and most of June while I redid the deck. I sumped as much water as I could off the cover and *almost* got it off without spilling anything into the pool itself....however at the last second the cover dipped into the pool and I had a huge slick of algae and debris fall into it, which turned my water a pretty cool neon green.

    Filled the pool, got the DE filter up and running and added 5 gallons of Superclor and a bottle of algaecide, this quickly turned the water from a green mess to blue, but it has been VERY cloudy and hazy ever since (two weeks). Even though my pressure was good, I figured after almost 24/7 filter operation for a week with that much algae it wouldn't hurt to backwash and clean out the DE filter grid. When I reinstalled the filter and recharged it, I noticed a bunch of DE going back into the pool after about the first 1 pound of DE. It probably occurred the first time I just wasn't paying attention. So I removed the grid again and noticed a few small tears....went to the pool store and replaced every fin, so now I practically have a new grid that is ready to go. Mentioned to the pool store about my super cloudy pool water and they thought the discharged DE that escaped into the pool could be contributing to it and that I it would be a good idea to floc it and vacuum to waste so I don't gum up my new grid. They advised me to not even install the new grid until the floc / vacuum was accomplished.

    So I went ahead and used enough floc for my 15000 gallons, let the pump run for a few hours and then shut everything off for a day. No change in water quality or any visible "settling" of debris on the bottom, so I gave it another day, and still no visible change at all to the water or any noticeable settling or clumping of material.

    So its been 48 hours and now I am confused at what my next action should be. Do I go ahead and vacuum as well as I can, SLAM the pool, and backwash / clean my filter until everything clears up, or should I try another round of floc first? Now that I have read up on your site I am pretty convinced the vast majority of my cloudiness was caused by the sheer amount of dead algae I had in my pool and not due to a few cups of DE escaping back into it, and I should have focused on chemistry and chlorine levels before resorting to floc.

    I apologize in advance, I have no set chemistry numbers (I do have a Taylor 2006-K ordered), I will get those posted ASAP.

    Thanks for any insight any of you may have,

    -Alex
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Welcome to TFP!!

    As with many who show up here, a pool store has sold you a bill of goods that is good for their cash register but bad for your pool. Very seldom is floc recommended because it is very easy to end up with a cloudy pool. No more flock, no more algecide. Chlorine is your friend!

    Until you get your K-2006 and can prove otherwise lets do this -

    Do not run the pump all night

    Each morning slowly vacuum the pool to waste trying not to stir up much "dust" as you move the vacuum around

    Once you are done vacuuming switch back to filter mode and add one bottle of concentrated bleach.

    When you get sufficient time, tear down the DE filter and give it a good cleaning, note the "clean" pressure when you turn it back on with a full charge of DE

    Continue cleaning the filter when the "dirty" pressure is 20-25% above the clean pressure.

    Once you get your K-2006 we will conduct an Overnight FC Loss Test (OCLT) to see if you have algae in the water, that is unless you see algae growing somewhere in the pool. If algae is seen or proved through testing we will move on to SLAMing your pool.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Tim,

    Thanks so much for your reply. How long should I let the filter run for, or is that dependent on pump specs? I have read conflicting ideas that a DE filter should not be run for more than 4-6 hours (any more than that hardens the DE "cake" and lowers filter efficacy) while other people have said as long as you backwash / clean as required by pressure readings that everything should be okay.

    Is their a particular brand of bleach that you would recommend? I understand that bleach = chlorine, and I have a jug of 12% chlorine lying around, so would that work as well?


    Thanks,

    -Alex
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    We had very cloudy water last year and it was due to phosphates; once we put in the chemicals and ran filter and cleaned filter as prescribed it was gorgeous crystal clear again.
    Year before that we had yellow algae that clouded it so put in a chemical for that (can't remember the name but found it at Pinch a Penny....you can look online maybe)
    10000 gallons, skimmer, 3 jets, free form inground, built in 2006, kind of Hayward 1 hp pump but motor has been switched to Marathon.
    I use a Dolphin Premier "robot" to clean the pool and love it!!!!

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by albabbie View Post
    Tim,

    Thanks so much for your reply. How long should I let the filter run for, or is that dependent on pump specs? I have read conflicting ideas that a DE filter should not be run for more than 4-6 hours (any more than that hardens the DE "cake" and lowers filter efficacy) while other people have said as long as you backwash / clean as required by pressure readings that everything should be okay.

    Is their a particular brand of bleach that you would recommend? I understand that bleach = chlorine, and I have a jug of 12% chlorine lying around, so would that work as well?


    Thanks,

    -Alex
    First, bleach is bleach which equates to chlorine is chlorine. Bleach comes in varying strengths just like "chlorine" does. Bleach can be found in 1%, 3%, 5%, 6% and 8.25%. Chlorine is usually found in 10% and 12.5%. But, here is the secret - they are all the same stuff, just different strengths. Many pool stores try to say that they are different, but they are not - just different strengths. It's as simple as that.

    The 12.5% you have will work if it is still viable. The higher the strength of the chlorine, the faster it degrades over time and "poor" storage conditions. A jug of 12.5% that is a few months old and has been stored in the hot yard is probably only 6% now.

    When we talk about buying bleach go for the generic stuff. The name brand has the same liquid inside, just a fancier label at a higher cost. I get the 8.25% at Dollar General or WalMart depending on which is less expensive at any given time. I personally shy away from higher % stuff (10/12.5%) as in a non "pool area" of the country the turnover in stock is slower and the storage in the supply chain is iffy.... Now, if I was in Arizona, Texas or Florida I would probably be buying the stuff at a pool store.

    Now, as to the filter I'm in the "backwash / clean as required by pressure readings that everything should be okay" camp.


    Quote Originally Posted by livinginparadise View Post
    We had very cloudy water last year and it was due to phosphates; once we put in the chemicals and ran filter and cleaned filter as prescribed it was gorgeous crystal clear again.
    Year before that we had yellow algae that clouded it so put in a chemical for that (can't remember the name but found it at Pinch a Penny....you can look online maybe)
    Phosphates are irrelevant in a properly chlorinated pool and we do not proscribe to "magic chemicals" for pool care or algae elimination. When we see algae or prove it's in the water through testing we follow the directions on SLAMing your pool in the How To section of Pool School and follow that procedure completely to the end.

    TFPC tenet - Never put chemistry in your pool when you do not know the outcome

    You are new to TFP and our methods. We base our pool care system on accurate testing and only adding what the pool needs, when it needs it. We don't go to the pool store and ask what they suggest. They only have one answer, sell you something.

    TFPC tenet - Pool Stores can and will sell you most anything....whether it helps or hurts your pool.....they just don't know any better

    Logic would then encourage us to stay out of pool stores if we want to manage our water via TFPC. That may come across as being kind of a you-know-what, but it is factual and advice we teach every day.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Tim,

    Thanks so much for your advice, this forum is a god-send.

    I plan on not spending much more time in my local pool store...it's pretty apparent that they aren't very trained whatsoever. My main thing I have had to mentally get over is the mind-set. I grew up with a giant in-ground pool and my father never measured anything or messed with chemistry, he just had a set amount of chlorine and shock he would put into it whenever and in all honestly the pool never gave us much issue. CYA, etc is all new to me so I am very happy that I came across this site when I did.

    So after all the reading here I take it the general consensus is powered chlorine shock and chlorine tabs/pucks are not worth their long-term effects on CYA levels, and plain ol' liquid chlorine is the way to go?

    I will start your plan on vacuuming / one bottle of bleach a day to see if I can start clearing up the haze until I get my testing kit in. This might sound like an ignorant question, but at this point, with the mountain of dead algae and 6-7 cups of DE floating around in the pool, and water that has been in there for god knows how long...would it be actually faster to drain the whole thing and refill it? I have a high powered pump and quite a bit of land so draining it wouldn't be a problem. Our water rates here are remarkably low, so the cost wouldn't be all that much.

    My pool is an above ground cedar-lined pool w/ vinyl liner and steel straps. I understand the risks to the liner and would drain and refill on an overcast day. I realize this might be coming across as a complete noob-ish idea, was just curious.

    Once again, thanks for all your help.
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Hi all,

    Another thing, I do realize that once I have the testing procedure down and get into a routine with a "healthy" pool, that the overall maintenance isn't really all that much. However, I am concerned with my ability to keep up with it when issues like this arise. I work 4-10's and have an hour or so commute each way to work, so you can imagine during the work week this does not give me a ton of time to mess around with my pool. I should have factored this in more when I bought the place, hindsight being what it is.

    Best option for the future? Automatic pool timer? Salt-water generator? Suck it up and work with what I have? Funds aren't a concern, so I am willing to invest if it makes the upkeep a bit more manageable. Thanks!
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    I would recommend a timer on the pump for sure. That takes away the need to "touch" the pool twice a day every day away. Once you have everything cleared up and you get a good handle on your pool's appetite, you will get to the point where you can add chlorine once every other day, and then once a week take an hour to brush the whole thing and do a full test*. That's all I do, and I've never, ever had a hint of cloudy.

    SWG is a great option as well, I actually like "touching" my pool once every 1-2 days, and a trip to Wal-Mart or Ollies once a week isn't inconvenient. You however sound like a prime candidate for a SWG.

    *Some people say CYA, TA, and CH are not needed once a week since they don't change much without water replacement, but I'd rather stay on top of anything trending wrong, especially in the summer.
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
    Test Kits - Pool Math - Chlorine/CYA/Target/Slam Chart

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Contrary to popular belief, TFP is not "against" pucks or solid forms of chlorine. They are fine if your pool can handle them. You are close to the area where it can work and you have an above ground pool. Closing for you each year should entail draining a substantial amount of water which reduces the CYA for the following year.

    First, when closing close later rather than earlier. Algae reproduction slows to all most nothing as water gets colder. We say close after the water gets to 60 degrees. Open before the water warms above 60. If you close with a clear pool and follow this advice the chances are you will open with a clear pool.

    Automated forms of chlorine addition are always the easiest. A salt water chlorine generator or a Stenner Pump make chlorine additions easy.

    Water replacement is a personal choice. You indicate money is not an issue, so that moves it up on the scale. Even with a water replacement there will still be some cleaning and balancing involved because you wont get ALL the water out. As you already understand liner damage is a possibility.

    Once you learn your pool chlorine and acid additions become easy. Many just carry their chlorine out in the morning with coffee and just pour it in (don't confuse the containers when following this method). Once it's stable, testing a few times a week works.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Kind of off topic, but I keep on getting rejected for posts on this thread with the forum telling me I have to remove curse words....but I am not swearing lol. Any pool related terms that might be getting misconstrued by the filter?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Tim,

    Got started on your plan, feels good to finally be attacking it...can't wait for my test set to get here to get some real numbers to work with. Got to vacuuming, and oh boy was I not prepared for the garbage that was on the bottom. Even though the floc didn't knock much down it must have had an effect (with the DE that was in the water), because on the bottom it was like I was vacuuming up cement. It was a tedious process but I got quite a bit of it out to waste. I did make the mistake of removing the leaf basket in my skimmer (because it was getting clogged with the gooey leaf/DE/ mixture), but shortly after that the impeller went on my pump. Luckily I was able to fish most of it out and its running fine now.

    After I vacuumed to waste, I installed my filter grid and charged it w/ 4 lbs of DE and it didn't shoot any DE back into the pool (thank god)...seems to be working well. About after 2-3 hours of filtering I noticed the suction/flow was down to almost nothing. Checked the pressure on the gauge and it wasn't really any higher than it was on its "clean" pressure, only up to 18 PSI from 15 PSI clean. Shut off the pump and bumped my filter 10x times and started it up and my suction/flow is great. Is it normal for those filters to clog up within a couple hours in a pool that is in rough shape? If so, how many times can I rely on the bump method before I backwash, or should I be doing that daily anyways until things clear up?

    Thanks again for your all the advice!
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Yes, DE filters are the "best", meaning they filter the smallest particles - but with the comes a cost, they clog quickly. I have a sand filter so I will levave the details of bumping your DE to experts in that area.

    As to the language filter, no pool words that I'm aware of. I would say next time cut/past the offending passage and PM me but the filter works there also....
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Another question,

    Looks like my test kit won't be in until next week. I realize this is antithesis of your guys methods, but should I be adding any stabilizer to my pool so all this chlorine isn't going to waste? My above ground pool was 3/4 empty when I finally opened it up this summer and I have drained and filled quite a bit since I started vacuuming to waste, so I am going to assume my CYA levels must be pretty low at this point.

    I realize with no numbers to go off and with the pool still ultra cloudy that I am just throwing a dart at a dartboard, but we are supposed to have steady sun next 4-5 days and I don't want to have all my chlorine just burn off in the sun. (especially when I'm trying to clear up my pool and need that chlorine to work!)

    Thanks again!
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by albabbie View Post
    Another question,

    Looks like my test kit won't be in until next week. I realize this is antithesis of your guys methods, but should I be adding any stabilizer to my pool so all this chlorine isn't going to waste? My above ground pool was 3/4 empty when I finally opened it up this summer and I have drained and filled quite a bit since I started vacuuming to waste, so I am going to assume my CYA levels must be pretty low at this point.

    I realize with no numbers to go off and with the pool still ultra cloudy that I am just throwing a dart at a dartboard, but we are supposed to have steady sun next 4-5 days and I don't want to have all my chlorine just burn off in the sun. (especially when I'm trying to clear up my pool and need that chlorine to work!)

    Thanks again!
    You are correct, we generally only make additions based on solid testing. Only add it if you are comfortable with having to drain water in the future if it's too high.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Hi all,

    Well, still going on at it, my impeller was clogged and it took me a couple of days to figure it out and get it fixed. Everything with my filter is going well now, it is def taking some of the stuff outta the pool. The problem I am having is the pool is so dirty that I literally have to "bump" my filter every hour or so or the pressure gets too high and my pool's filtering ability goes way down. I have backwashed and recharged my filter two days in a row, and still, every hour I have to bump it. I can't keep this up during the work week and I am at a loss of how to keep my pool running when Im at work so it can start clearing the water, without having to inspect it every hour.

    This is my first experience with a DE filter and so far I cannot state how much I dislike it. Getting a sand filter as soon as I can.

    Any suggestions?
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Suggestions, yes - don't be too quick to dump the DE for sand.

    You have a dirty messed up pool. It will clog the filter quick. But, once you get the pool in order the DE may be a better filter.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New Owner, very cloudy pool, please help!

    Fair enough point Tim, I really am hoping it clears up sooner than later because I do not have the ability to tend to the filter every 2 hours or so to bump it or backwash it. #crosses fingers
    15,000 gallon above ground pool w/ vinyl liner
    Pentair Star(50) DE filter
    Unknown pump manufacturer, seems to be working fine
    Pool installed in 2010
    Taylor 2006-K test kit

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