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Thread: Question about cleaning out debris

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    Question about cleaning out debris

    Hey guys,

    I am brand new to the site and I know nothing about pools. I am about to start working through the Pool School, but thought I would go ahead and post my situation in case anyone could offer a little case specific help. We purchased a home with a large inground pool that had not been opened for several years. It was a black swamp complete with bullfrogs. Last summer I spent the entire summer cleaning out debris-several feet of oak leaves and decaying organic matter from the bottom. I spent about $700 on liquid chlorine last summer and I could get the water blue and the shallow end clear enough to see the bottom. The deep end and the incline never cleared. There is still some debris in the pool, mostly decayed matter (like silt or dirt consistency) on the incline and the deep end--I assume. I can't see the bottom but I can still scoop out debris with the leaf rake. I think I have removed about 85%-90% of the debris. This year, I have started shocking the pool. Now the water color is a blue with a little tint of green left. But, the water is very cloudy. I know that is the dead algae and that my sand filter will take a while to clean it out. I brush down the sides and bottom and a lot of fine debris stirs making the water greenish-brown. I feel like I have a catch 22 because I can't see the bottom to scoop the remaining debris out. Should I add a clarifier or is there any way I can clear the water enough to see the debris to get it out? Or does my focus need to be on the chlorine and worry about the debris after it's more clear?

    I am back washing the filter every 1-2 hours, and adding chlorine nightly. We live in North GA and are on well water, if that makes any difference. TIA!!!
    34,500 inground pool with vinyl liner
    Pool approx 17 years old
    1.5 hp hayward 2 speed pump with sand filter
    Mostly sun all day with large oaks surrounding that like to drop their leaves in the pool
    Well water supply

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    cj3737's Avatar
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Welcome to TFP!!!
    Sound like you have quite the project...

    First thing youll hear here is get a test kit... TF-100 or Taylor K-2006. We really need to know what the levels are so we can see what we are working with..
    Silt is a royal pain in the neck,, your sand filter can get most of it out but its gonna put a lot of pressure on the system. Dig out as much as possible with a rake...

    Are you "shocking" with OTC shock? Like from WalMart? If you are.. stop now... We advocate liquid bleach... and if you scroll thru pix on the site, you will see the results..
    Inherited 24' Muskin Above ground
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    Hayward S180T92S Sand filter
    Taylor K-2006C Speedstir
    TFPC for Beginners | Pool Math | Pool School | CYA Chart | SLAM | Test Kits | ABC's

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    cj3737's Avatar
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Enuf shock can make any green pool blue but we aren't looking for blue.. we are looking for clear and sanitary...

    Without knowing what your current chlorine level is, I cant be sure what to suggest... We do know that you have a bunch of crud in your pool and nothing is killing the living, growing organisms.. According to poolmath, for a 34500 gal pool with no chlorine in it, it says to add 4 gal of 8.25% bleach to get the FC up to 9.5 which will still render a mostly accurate PH reading. That much bleach will begin to kill the nasties as long as all your pump lines are clear and your filter is clean. I would imagine your lower drain line is plugged since you can get the shallow end clearish and not the deep end...
    Inherited 24' Muskin Above ground
    13500 gal
    Hayward S180T92S Sand filter
    Taylor K-2006C Speedstir
    TFPC for Beginners | Pool Math | Pool School | CYA Chart | SLAM | Test Kits | ABC's

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Can you turn off your skimmer and just use the main drain? As long as it is small debris, the main drain with the pump running 24/7 should clear that stuff up. Get a good test kit and get some numbers posted and you'll be clear and swimming before you know it!
    26k Gal IG vinyl, Hayward Super 1HP, Hayward Pro Series S244T Sand Filter, TFTestkits TF-100 w/ Speedstir
    Links: TFPC for Beginners / ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry / GETTING STARTED / PoolMath / SLAM / TFTestkits / Chlorine/CYA Chart

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Thanks for the info. cj3737 Here's what I know...before I started adding chlorine this year my readings were all normal, according to my test kits, except for chlorine of course, which was 0. As of right this min. my chlorine reading is about 4. I'm backwashing my filter every 30 min to 1 hr right now, because I've scrubbed down the walls and floor twice today. I will attach pics of what I am using for shock, yes, it's something from Walmart. Last year, I used liquid bleach--the strongest I could find, I'm pretty sure it was 8.25%. That's what I ended up spending $700 on. I used so many gallons I list count, more than 150 gallons. Crazy, I know. Toward the end of the season I bought a couple boxes of "shock" from Walmart and used those. My chlorine level would drop very quickly. For some reason, pool stores in GA do not carry liquid chlorine so I was buying liquid bleach from the grocery store. Here's pics of my pool-after my scrub down, my test kits I have on hand, and the shock I am using. And thank you for your help.
    4c2913fe-7ae0-4b2e-b1fb-12793bc3a5d8.jpg1d57299f-6e5c-4aab-a2ca-2d739cb48e97.jpg9dd75243-7bd7-484b-a547-d691cb118d31.jpg7d33605b-fd7f-42f6-8423-6f93002dc46b.jpg88b18dc5-96f4-42b0-b31f-5775a92533d0.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    Main drain, as in the one on the bottom? That might be a really good idea! How about vacuuming? I forgot to ask about that. Is it ok to vacuum the bottom or run the Aquabot when I can't see it? There are still some leaves there, maybe a few small twigs, but mainly silt.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh and yes, I think you were right about the drain being clogged. Pretty sure that was my problem last year. My husband got it unclogged this season, so it is functioning now. We also put in a new pump, same size as the old one, 1.5 hp, but seems to be stronger.
    34,500 inground pool with vinyl liner
    Pool approx 17 years old
    1.5 hp hayward 2 speed pump with sand filter
    Mostly sun all day with large oaks surrounding that like to drop their leaves in the pool
    Well water supply

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    cj3737's Avatar
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    That test kit looks pretty old... the test chemicals only last about a year then lose their ability to give accurate readings...
    $100 fresh test kit would seem to benefit you a lot...

    I still think your best bet is to try to get all the gunk out. You may even find the Loch Ness monster in there..
    When was the last time the filter sand was changed? Generally, you don't have to change it very often but with massive amounts of algae and who knows what, your filter may not be doing much other than recirculating contaminated water.

    Would a drain/clean/refill be an option for you? Might be the easiest way to get all the stuff off the bottom.. Plus you could do a thorough inspection of the liner...
    Inherited 24' Muskin Above ground
    13500 gal
    Hayward S180T92S Sand filter
    Taylor K-2006C Speedstir
    TFPC for Beginners | Pool Math | Pool School | CYA Chart | SLAM | Test Kits | ABC's

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    I would get a leaf gulper to get the stuff off the bottom. It connects to your vacuum pole and you attach your water hose to it. You can push it along the bottom to pick up a lot of the debris. It comes with a net. I have oak/pine trees around my pool and use mine to get ton or leaves. Even though you can't see you can still push it around gently to get a bunch of stuff.
    Montgomery, AL
    27000 16 x 36 IG, Vinyl, Grecian, Hayward Sand filter, 1 HP Pentair whisperflo motor, Aqua Genie filter not by choice, no extra jets, Dolphin s300i robotic cleaner,Taylor K 2006 test kit, speed-stir which I couldn't live without!

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Chlorine level of 4 isn't going to do anything... that's a "maintain" level... you are going to have to bring the level way up for it to start cleaning the gunk..
    Until your actual FC( Free Chlorine) level can be pinpointed, you wont know for sure... your kit really just has the ability to let you know there is some chlorine in the water
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...ater-chemistry
    Inherited 24' Muskin Above ground
    13500 gal
    Hayward S180T92S Sand filter
    Taylor K-2006C Speedstir
    TFPC for Beginners | Pool Math | Pool School | CYA Chart | SLAM | Test Kits | ABC's

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Hi, welcome to TFP! You should backwash the sand filter when there has been a 20% rise over the clean pressure reading on the pressure gauge. The chlorox product you currently use contains CYA. You need to keep an eye on the CYA level so it does not get too high. To clear the pool you need to complete the SLAM process. In order to complete the slam process you need to be able to measure FC higher than 5ppm, and you need to be able to measure CYA. Neither of these measurements are possible with the testing materials you currently have. I would suggest you order a TF100 so you will be able to test the water accurately and complete the slam process.

    Even though it may be more expensive, you are better off slamming with liquid chlorine. It won't add additional CYA to your pool, and it won't add calcium that you may not need at this time. You can vacuum the pool even though you cannot see the bottom. If possible position yourself so you can keep an eye on the pump. If you notice the water level going down in the pump basket it is time to stop and check for clogs in the vacuum or empty the pump strainer basket. If you have a vacuum plate you can leave the basket in the skimmer to catch large debris as well. Once you get all the debris out it shouldn't take long for the pool to clear. I would only advise draining if the CYA was too high, and even then it would only be a series of partial drain and refill cycles. Completely draining a vinyl liner pool can cause damage to the liner, floating the liner, and/or wrinkles in the liner.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    You do need to get a leaf vac from Home Depot or Lowes. You could vacuum to waste but you may clog a line so would recommend the leaf vac that you use with your hose and dump outside of the pool. You need to get a test kit and quit using Triclor. It has CYA in it.
    True L 45,000 gal Hayward IG vinyl pool. Hayward Tristar 2.40 THP; 1.5 FRHP/1.60 SF. Hayward Model # S310T2 Sand Filter. Aqua Rite T-15. Aqua Comfort 154,000 BTU Heat Pump. TF-100

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    Hi, welcome to TFP! You should backwash the sand filter when there has been a 20% rise over the clean pressure reading on the pressure gauge. The chlorox product you currently use contains CYA. You need to keep an eye on the CYA level so it does not get too high. To clear the pool you need to complete the SLAM process. In order to complete the slam process you need to be able to measure FC higher than 5ppm, and you need to be able to measure CYA. Neither of these measurements are possible with the testing materials you currently have. I would suggest you order a TF100 so you will be able to test the water accurately and complete the slam process.

    Even though it may be more expensive, you are better off slamming with liquid chlorine. It won't add additional CYA to your pool, and it won't add calcium that you may not need at this time. You can vacuum the pool even though you cannot see the bottom. If possible position yourself so you can keep an eye on the pump. If you notice the water level going down in the pump basket it is time to stop and check for clogs in the vacuum or empty the pump strainer basket. If you have a vacuum plate you can leave the basket in the skimmer to catch large debris as well. Once you get all the debris out it shouldn't take long for the pool to clear. I would only advise draining if the CYA was too high, and even then it would only be a series of partial drain and refill cycles. Completely draining a vinyl liner pool can cause damage to the liner, floating the liner, and/or wrinkles in the liner.

    Thank you everyone for the suggestions. Tonight I vacuumed as long as I could, and scooped out a little more besides that. I think my biggest thing is just continuing to get all the debris out. My PSI is raising from 20 (normal clean reading) to 25 in about 1 hour or less depending on when I clean the pool. I'll order a new test kit and look into switching to liquid chlorine. Is clorox ok to use, since I can't get pool chlorine? I don't think draining the pool is a good option for us. My liner is older anyway and I think that draining it would damage it beyond repair. We'll see what it looks like in the morning!
    34,500 inground pool with vinyl liner
    Pool approx 17 years old
    1.5 hp hayward 2 speed pump with sand filter
    Mostly sun all day with large oaks surrounding that like to drop their leaves in the pool
    Well water supply

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Clorox Concentrated Bleach (not "scented", nor "splashless", no "outdoor", just plain, concentrated bleach) is totally fine to use. Many of us use that (or the store brand) when our local "liquid chlorine" source is too expensive.
    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: Question about cleaning out debris

    Good ol fashioned bleach is what I use.. the cheapest possible.. I think in my area its like $2.50 a gallon for the great value brand at wally world... Just turn your pump on and dump it in front of your return so you get max dispersion...
    Do you know how long its been since the sand in your filter was changed?
    Inherited 24' Muskin Above ground
    13500 gal
    Hayward S180T92S Sand filter
    Taylor K-2006C Speedstir
    TFPC for Beginners | Pool Math | Pool School | CYA Chart | SLAM | Test Kits | ABC's

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Greetings, Ashley.

    I've been in your exact shoes and you kinda need to nail it in a dedicated burst of activity.
    So as others have mentioned, thing one is a proper test kit ( see TFTestkits.net ) plus a manual pool vac and possibly a leaf gulper, then following the SLAM to a T.

    BUT here are a few additional tips specific to your situation:

    Easiest route (I didn't do this) - consider renting a trash pump, sitting on bottom, and pump off the sludge, adding fresh water at same time...then proceed to slam to finish.

    Manual way:

    1. Keep skimmer open full and main drain PARTIALLY open but not full...this wil help clear top layers but not clog main drain...but will pull debris toward one area. Don't use clarifier yet.

    2. Scoop as much as possible with leaf gulper and leaf net and try to make sure there are no stones/objects, etc. left on floor.

    3. At this point, continue to slam away intil you get a very clear top layer so you can hopefully see the silt left.

    4. When you pass Overnight Chlorine Loss Test, and are pretty sure there are no stones or objects, kerp FC at high slam value but after last chlorine mixed well, turn off pump and let settle for a day.

    5. Try now to vac to waste if that's an option on your multiport valve. G slow to not dsturb silt. Clean pump basket a lot. Might take two passes.

    6. If this desnt nail it, at this stage and only after passing OCLT, etc., add a floc (not just clarifier) and then vac to waste. Again, you'll likely have to refill a bit to get it all in two sessions.

    Here's a pic to she you what happens when you do it this way:
    Cheers to clear
    image.jpg
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Quote Originally Posted by cj3737 View Post
    Good ol fashioned bleach is what I use.. the cheapest possible.. I think in my area its like $2.50 a gallon for the great value brand at wally world... Just turn your pump on and dump it in front of your return so you get max dispersion...
    Do you know how long its been since the sand in your filter was changed?

    8 years possibly longer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    This is great! Thanks for the info. That is EXACTLY what my pool looked like when we started. You give me hope!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here's what my pool looks like this morning, better, I think but still a long way to go. This is about where I got to last year and then couldn't get over this hump. cd9962f9-fb12-48b3-b927-8a897ce4fd2f.jpg40fd996b-e39e-4e09-bfb2-7274304cb776.jpg
    34,500 inground pool with vinyl liner
    Pool approx 17 years old
    1.5 hp hayward 2 speed pump with sand filter
    Mostly sun all day with large oaks surrounding that like to drop their leaves in the pool
    Well water supply

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    We'll get you over the hump I will check on you daily

    Don't worry about changing the sand in your filter but do be sure to run filter on full speed 24/7 during the Slam, keep your FC a bit above slam level per FC/CYA Chart chart (slam, not regular target) and lets see how much it clears in a few days before any filter foolin. (Even then, you seriously are unlikely to need to change sand, more on that later.)

    Just a backwash whenever 25% higher than clean pressure as able.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Thank you swampwoman for your help and encouragment!! One more question, can I safely run my pump all night? I can only go about 2 hours without having to backwash. I am a little worried about running 8 hours with no backwash.

    I'm ordering a good test kit today so I can properly check these numbers.
    34,500 inground pool with vinyl liner
    Pool approx 17 years old
    1.5 hp hayward 2 speed pump with sand filter
    Mostly sun all day with large oaks surrounding that like to drop their leaves in the pool
    Well water supply

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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Run it on recirculate if that is the case.
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Just checkin in -- do you have a pic from today? Let us know how much filtering you were able to get in.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Question about cleaning out debris

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampwoman View Post
    Just checkin in -- do you have a pic from today? Let us know how much filtering you were able to get in.
    Hey!! Thank you for checking up on me! I went to a pool store and had my water tested while I wait for my test kit. Here's my readings:
    FC-0
    CC-0
    Ph-6.6
    TA-0
    CH-10
    CYA-86

    So, am I correct in thinking I need to replace some water first before I do anything else? What's my target CYA for starting a SLAM? I've read it somewhere, but goodness I have read so much, I can't remember where I saw it. My pool is already looking better even though my numbers are way off. I guess just from vacuuming and cleaning out bottom debris. I'm sure there's a lot more to go but at least it's a start! Thank you!!!
    34,500 inground pool with vinyl liner
    Pool approx 17 years old
    1.5 hp hayward 2 speed pump with sand filter
    Mostly sun all day with large oaks surrounding that like to drop their leaves in the pool
    Well water supply

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