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Thread: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

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    New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    I am grateful for finding TFP, and just in time: we just fired our pool guy and I have hired myself to replace him. This will test my theory that diligence is as important as expertise, that being out there every day is the most important asset to pool maintenance.

    Our pool is lightly used and I would prefer to under-chlorinate than over-chlorinate. I can live with a minimal amount of algae. I don't mind brushing the walls; in fact, I kind of enjoy it. When I brush algae from the walls of the pool, where does it go? Can algae live in the water? When I scrub it off of a wall, does it die or does it just go find another wall to cling to?

    I don't want to mistreat my pool, and if I discover that I'm just spinning my wheels when brushing the walls, perhaps I'll reconsider. And of course, the best would be to maintain perfect chemical conditions, but that will require a lot of practice and (hopefully) the help of people here.

    So that's my first question of many: is wall scrubbing in and of itself a defense against algae?
    Rick Altman
    Pleasanton CA
    Standard in-ground pool
    27,000 gallons

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Hello Rick and welcome to TFP! To answer your basic question - "no", scrubbing alone will not resolve an algae issue. It can be therapeutic though. For us at TFP, ANY algae is too much algae, and with the right test kit it doesn't require a tremendous amount of chemical products, just a basic understanding of how it all works (i.e. TFP Pool School). What you will hear at TFP time & time again is the importance of having the proper test kit - either a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006C. Why these kits? We've learned through extensive practice that you cannot reply on pool store testing, test strips, or simple over-the-counter kits. Personnel training, lighting, and product sales influence accurate testing too much. In addition, simple test kits do not read Free Chlorine (FC) or Cyanuric Acid (CYA) levels accurately or to the high levels we need. If you do not have a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006 test kit, it should be your #1 priority.

    From there it becomes quite basic really. Pool stores seem to make it look fancy or difficult but it's not. Feel free to visit the vital links below in my signature for more info, and let us know if you have any questions. We'll be happy to help where we can. Have a nice afternoon.
    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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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Also, think of algae as the canary in the coal mine. If the algae is living in the water, so may pathogens be living in the same water. Making it inhospitable for the algae also kills the pathogens that can get you or your family sick.

    It is much better to have a little too much chlorine than too little.
    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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    michaelrbanks's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Rick,

    My two cents regarding your questions & background - living with a minimal amount of algae could potentially become a bigger problem rather quickly. My advice is to eliminate all algae which will then make long-term maintenance and upkeep significantly easier. Take for example, your desire to "under chlorinate." If you have a small amount of algae, it will consume any chlorine you have added to your water, thus wasting your effort for testing & adding chlorine and your money, for pouring in chlorine that doesn't go toward maintaining a healthy, swimmable pool.

    Your approach should be to "correctly chlorinate" your pool. This first involves getting a reliable, modern test kit (either TF-100 or K-2006) and running through the tutorials in Pool School to understand what each component in your water does. Then, kill off any algae you may have with a SLAM process. Once complete, maintaining your water takes about 5 minutes per day. That's it!

    Regarding brushing - I'm probably not the poster child for pool brushing. For me, it's like flossing - something you KNOW you need to do, but just don't get around to... That being said, it's very effective at maintaining an algae-free pool, but not by itself. Brushing destroys the protective layers on algae so that the chlorine can ultimately kill it - without the proper level of chlorine, you're simply moving it around the pool. It takes both, with chlorine being the primary treatment.

    Hope that helps - welcome to the forum & we're ready and willing to help you take ownership of your pool!
    16,661 gal IG PebbleTec w/ Spa; 60 ft2 Jandy DE filter, 2 HP Jandy Variable Speed pump; 2 skimmer; 400K BTU Jandy heater; Polaris Sport; opened 9/15/14; TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    If you know what you're doing, which you will if you stick around, you can't over-chlorinate the pool except through some calamity of errors.

    It goes from under, to just right, to merely wasteful, to side-effect-causing, to dangerous.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Water sheer, 2 wok pots, bubbler stem on the baja step
    ColorLogic Mutlicolor LED lamp. Taylor 2006+speed stir

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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Many, many thanks to everyone here for the quick, welcoming, and helpful responses. I am empowered to become more capable. I am attaching a photo of my current test kit to confirm that it is one of the off-the-shelf kits that you all say to avoid.

    I think the other thing that I should do before I gear up is determine the capacity of my pool -- how can I best do that?

    Third, I feel as if I need to better understand alkalinity and its relationship to all of this. My routine is very linear at the moment: chlorine level is either good or not, and if it's not, I add some. That's pretty grade school of me.

    Fourth, learn about the different types of chlorine.


    Long story short: I'll be a regular here. Thanks again...



    2016-07-11 13.12.11.jpg
    Rick Altman
    Pleasanton CA
    Standard in-ground pool
    27,000 gallons

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Other than test strips "avoid" is a harsh word. The lesser test kits just do not have this specificity we like to see in testing. With that test kit the sample turns yellow, so we know it has chlorine. But, is it 2-3-4-5? Hard to tell......

    With our recommended test kits we can test chlorine to .2 specificity if that resolution is needed, or we test to .5 most of the time.
    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 Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Rick, the test kit you have will be suitable for pH and TA testing. It will tell you if there is the "presence" of chlorine, or perhaps measure up to about 5 ppm (I think), but it has it's limitations. Bromine is N/A and the acid demand really isn't needed when you have the Poolmath calculator here on the site. The other thing I don't see in this kit is testing for hardness (CH) and cyanuric acid (CYA). The CH is important for your plaster (I think you have a plaster pool right?) and the CYA for balancing the proper chlorine level.

    Alkalinity will have the most applicability when adjusting and maintaining the pH of your water. The Poolmath calculator can also help get you started with pool size (near the bottom), where you can enter basic pool dimensions. Once you have a ballpark gallon size, you will learn more when you add chemicals to the water. If you over-shoot (or under-shoot) your target, you know the gallon size needs to be adjusted.

    The Pool School's ABC's of Water Chemistry is a must for you to understand the basics of chemicals and how they relate to each other. But think of it in this way in its most basic form ... FC & CYA go together to prevent algae; TA & pH go together to manage scale/corrosion/water comfort. You'll get the hang of more as time goes-on.

    But no doubt the testing is priority. I use and recommend the TF-100 (with Speed Stir) because it is has Taylor products and is also augmented with other chemicals to do all the tests you need for this season and perhaps part of next. It's a great value. The charts in my sig below are extremely valuable and you can print them out if needed and keep with your test kit.

    In the end, just knock on our TFP door anytime you have a question. Lots of us around to help.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Rick Altman
    Pleasanton CA
    Standard in-ground pool
    27,000 gallons

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Yes Rick, but see if you can find the K-2006 "C" (commercial). Slightly better value with more reagents. If you can't find the C-model, I would order the TF-100. But yes, you're on the right track. That "FAS-DPD" portion is critical.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    That is the bare minimum. It comes with small reagent bottles that will need refills soon. The TF-100 XL is a much better value, but it's your call.

    RE: Size, there is a size calculator at the bottom of Pool Math.
    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    I prefer the TF--100 from TFTestkits.net. here's why, Pool School - Test Kits Compared
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    I just wanted to say Hi and Welcome and refer back to your first post regarding keeping a low level of chlorine

    You have come to the exact right place

    I think your desire to run a pool with low chlorine comes from experiences at public pools where you walk in and the chlorine smell hits you in the back of the throat. Or from swimming at a mates place and your eyes sting and you smell like chlorine until you shower. I hate that awful smell too

    Our pools do not smell of chlorine and are not harsh on bathing suits, skin, hair or eyes. However they have enough chlorine to ensure there is no algae or bacteria that could make you or your family / friends sick. The key to achieving this balance is good quality testing, hence why everyone is talking about test kits

    BTW that chlorine smell is the used up chlorine (Combined Chloromines) generated from the chlorine reacting with algae or other organics like sweat . No wonder I never swim at a public pool any more

    All the testing and chemicals sound complicated, time consuming and expensive. Its not. Once you are sorted maybe 5 minutes a day, I take longer to feed my cat. Once every week I brush and run a few extra tests so maybe half an hour? For the best pool water I have ever seen or felt, its a no brainer

    There are many members here doing their own testing, from teenagers looking after dads pool through to *ahem* excessively experienced teenagers, from stay at homes to qualified chemists. All these great mods will help you learn the tests and what they mean (hey there are even videos that show how) and the calculator tells you how much of what, easy peasy. In a couple of weeks you will be testing water and probably be able to answer yourself on what to do (if anything)

    I hope you take the plunge and enjoy the journey, the beautiful TFP water and all the friendly excellent advice you will get
    6000 gal, AG vinyl, Intex ultra frame 16ft, 1200 Gallon Sand Filter, DIY Solar, Clear Choice Labs Testing Kit

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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Welcome!

    You already got your answers so I just like to add few points: the pool care is rather simple activity when not clouded by excessive sales pressure, you won't feel/smell chlorine with properly maintained levels and the water will be clear & safe, it doesn't require daily scrubbing or testing. At first you might need to do that daily until you get your pool water balanced then you'll be able to relax. I often skip few days between tests/corrections and nothing literally ever happens: after 1 year I can guesstimate where my chlorine will be in those days and I know how much ppm 1 gal jar adds without looking up anywhere. You just get used to your own pool over time.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    You are going to LOVE the set of links I give to each new pool boy LOL to help them keep their job.

    Print these out:
    Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Bookmark these:
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    Make sure to ask any and all questions you might have no matter how small! We have all been where you are at one point.

    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: New Pool Boy...he is I...and he is clueless

    Welcome to the easiest pool care you'll ever find.
    Everyone here will help you along.

    Your first two weeks are your most challenging as you wrap your brain around the TF method.
    You'll have Pool OCD for those 2 weeks, then it'll make more sense each week, thereafter, and you'll relax .
    I was in your shoes 3 months ago. Now, I know what my FC Level is going to be each time, before I even check it.
    And... it's right on.

    You'll come to learn your pool, too as you care for it.
    It's quite easy, really.
    You'll have to 'feed' it everyday, but that's what keeps the 'green monster' away.

    Welcome!

    Oh, and get the Speed Stir when you order your Test Kit.
    It makes testing a snap.

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