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Thread: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

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    Join Date
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    1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Hello Swimmers...

    This is my first post on the forum and just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Chester and I live in Casa Grande, Arizona which is within the Sun-Belt so I expect to have some particular difficulties trying to maintain a healthy Pool for my family & friends to swim in. Average daily temperature now is 106 with constant sunlight (except for Monsoon storms), along with dirt devils & dust storms regularly, as my home is also within dust-bowl alley.
    Our new pool (Gunite with Stonescape Mini-Pebble finish) was completed this past Wednesday. This is the 1st Pool we've ever owned and I look forward to learning how to care for it properly. The Pool itself is 12' wide X 26' Long with small built-out corners. Its depth ranges from approximately 3-1/2' - 6-1/2', and I was told that it's capacity is approximately 10,600 GAL. I didn't have any expectations of the Pool Contractor with regard to chemical maintenance, but in hindsight would have been more relieved to have been given a reference guide or something similar as a starting point. I admit that I'm more than a little intimidated by the thought of trying to maintain a healthy chemical balance in it, as I have no prior experience working with chemicals whatsoever or clue as to where to begin to find the information that I need.
    The Pool Contractor left me a 100 test-strip canister of Aquachek "Pro". I purchased a test kit online hoping that it would offer more accuracy, and tested the water today for the first-time using this "ColorQ Pro 7 Plus" kit and an "Etekcity" PH Meter.
    The readings from today's water-test were; PH 7.7 (8.68 on the meter), ALY 82, CYA 29, and CH 15. For whatever reason the reading for FCL & TCL weren't numeric, and showed "Lo" for each. Regardless, I have no-idea at this point as to what to do with these results.
    Would it be wise for me to hire a Pool Maintenance outfit before the elements jeopardize the Pool or equipment, until I can learn how to maintain it myself? I do feel less anxious now that I've located the "TFP" website though, and am grateful that it's available for newbie's such as myself.

    I'll be completing my profile shortly, but any suggestions would be much appreciated...
    Chester

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    HI! SO glad you found us so early in your pool ownership! You will LOVE TFP!

    I have a set of links I share with new pool owners. It is a LOT of info. so take it slow. It will make sense as you start to use it.

    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.

    The test kit you have is just an okay one but it has to be calibrated quite often and even then it is not as accurate as the ones we recommend. Look in my siggy for the one I think is the best bang for the buck as it has more of regents for the tests we do on a daily bases.

    While you are learning your pool and even beyond you will find it helpful to keep a journal of your test results. After a while (once you plaster cures) you will start to see patterns that will be useful later.

    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: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester Delco View Post
    ... I expect to have some particular difficulties trying to maintain a healthy Pool for my family & friends to swim in...
    no, you just got longer swim season, enjoy
    Quote Originally Posted by Chester Delco View Post
    ... it's capacity is approximately 10,600 GAL.
    give or take- write it down as 11k for simplicity
    Quote Originally Posted by Chester Delco View Post
    ..The Pool Contractor left me a 100 test-strip canister of Aquachek "Pro"... "ColorQ Pro 7 Plus" kit and an "Etekcity" PH Meter.
    I'm reading mixed feedback on those strips/kit and have no idea about PH Meter. Would it be possible for you to purchase one of the recommended test kits: TF 100 ? It would solve 2 problems:
    -everyone on this forum knows the kit and trusts its results
    -you could use it to verify your other test kits and continue using them later if they prove to be accurate. TF100 was tested so many times that its consistency/accuracy allows such verification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester Delco View Post
    The readings from today's water-test were; PH 7.7 (8.68 on the meter), ALY 82, CYA 29, and CH 15. For whatever reason the reading for FCL & TCL weren't numeric, and showed "Lo" for each. Regardless, I have no-idea at this point as to what to do with these results.
    That's the thing- me neither. As you noticed 7.7 & 8.68 are quite different numbers for the same sample and 'Lo' doesn't really help that much. This is not because you're newbie, this is because some of those tests don't produce accurate enough results. Just for comparison- I recently purchased refills for the test kit and got exactly the same reading for pH (and other tests) with fresh refills as well as with original reagents which were 1.5 years old.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chester Delco View Post
    Would it be wise for me to hire a Pool Maintenance outfit before the elements jeopardize the Pool or equipment, until I can learn how to maintain it myself?
    No, most likely their confusion will be transferred over to you and we'll see you back later anyway. It's much easier to learn things correctly the first time around than to change your views later. This site has resources for all kind of levels from pool owner all the way to scientific publications with all references and discussions to match. I don't think any Pool Maintenance company can match that in terms of expertise.
    44k plaster pool, Pentair 011018 pump, DE6020 filter, LED lights, K2006 test kit

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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Do not hire a pool boy. It's Your pool, not his. Only you can take care of it correctly. He won't care, as long as he gets his money, he will be happy.

    Dump the strips and return the Color Q. Get the TF100.
    16 x 32 17500 gallons
    Vinyl in-ground
    Hayward 250# Sand Filter
    1 HP Pump
    Hayward SWG

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Chester,

    I have both the TF100 and the ColorQ Pro 7 and love both of them. They both have their Pros and Cons.

    One of the main advantages of the TF100 is that it can read very high FC readings (I believe up to 50 ppm) where the ColorQ can only read up to 10 ppm. Anything over 10 ppm shows as "Hi" I know the ColorQ can measure FC at least as low as 1 ppm. So, if your ColorQ reads "Lo" or low, it means your pool has ZERO Chlorine. This is not good and something you should be doing something about as soon as you can. (See below)

    I believe that the ColorQ does a pretty good job at measuring the pH level. The TF100 has a color comparison test that I find harder to use and I doubt is any more accurate as it is somewhat subjective. I know nothing about your Etekcity pH tester, but suspect it has to be calibrated before it can used with any accuracy. I tried a couple of pH testers, and found none of them that I liked better than the ColorQ or the TF100 comparison tester.

    I recommend that you keep the ColorQ and buy the TF100. The TF100 is more accurate than the ColorQ because, for most tests, it relies on the change from one color to another, which is easier to tell than a subtle change in the same color as the ColorQ uses for its tests.

    One of the main reasons to buy the TF100 is so that everyone here is comparing apples to apples. We want to be able to look at your "numbers" for FC, CC, pH, TA, CH, and CYA and be assured that they are valid. If everyone used a different test kit, we'd never be able to know for sure how accurate the numbers really were.

    It appears you need to add about 92 oz of 8.25% bleach to your 11K pool to get it up to 6 ppm. I suggest you dump in a whole jug, which is 121 oz and see what the ColorQ reading is tomorrow. Well, maybe not "dump", more like slowly pour the bleach in right above one of your returns, with the pump running of course, so that the bleach and return water mix together.

    I suspect you will need to add a half a jug or more per day while you are waiting on your TF100 test kit to arrive.

    One you get the TF100 you can provide us with more accurate test results and we can go from there.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Aug 2016
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    Casa Grande, Arizona
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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Thanks for the quick reply as it's much appreciated!
    I've copied the links that you've recommended and will take-in as much information from them as I possibly can. I'm looking forward to getting a handle on the chemical balance, and will be switching test-kits as soon as financing permits. I'm feeling more settled with the idea that pool maintenance will be part of my daily routine throughout my retirement. A small price to pay in order to enjoy years of healthy swimming here at home...

    Much Appreciated,
    Chester
    12' X 26' In-Ground Gunite w/stonescape mini-pebble finish
    Hayward variable 3-speed pump
    oversized Hayward "SwimClear" cartridge filter
    Clear 03 Ozone water purifying system & Ultimate UV water sanitizer
    ColorLogic LED multicolored lighting

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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Do yourself a favor and get the TFP kits, and don't skimp, get the one with all the bells and whistles! Well worth it in my opinion. I wouldn't have been able to get mine in order without it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here's a link if you need it.

    TFTestkits.net
    10,400 Gal Pool, Hayward Dreamline Sand Filter Model S190TSCPE, Hayward Power-Flo LX Pump

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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Thanks for you're informative reply,

    I'll follow you're advice regarding the pool's capacity, as well as the other item's you've suggested. As for the TF-100, I plan to get my own in the very near future. With regard to a pool maintenance company, I agree 100%, as my experience with the start-up technician was not a confidence builder. While showing me how to operate the pump, he allowed it to run for 20 minutes-or-so without any flow of water running through it. He complained that it was "giving him trouble", eventually removing the basket-lid to apply silicone. After continuing to run it dry for several minutes he decided to prime the pump, which solved the water flow issue.

    I feel more confident with the idea of balancing the pool chemical's now that I've located the forum, and look forward to learning all that's required to manage it successfully.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply as it's certainly appreciated!

    Chester
    12' X 26' In-Ground Gunite w/stonescape mini-pebble finish
    Hayward variable 3-speed pump
    oversized Hayward "SwimClear" cartridge filter
    Clear 03 Ozone water purifying system & Ultimate UV water sanitizer
    ColorLogic LED multicolored lighting

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    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Peoria AZ
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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Welcome! The TFP way is really not that difficult. Read through all those links posted and start applying that knowledge to your new pool!
    10k gal, IG Plaster, 3/4HP WhisperFlo pump, A.0 Smith Centurion single speed motor, Pentair TritonII sand filter, TF100 test kit, Hayward suction cleaner, City well water

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Casa Grande, Arizona
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    Re: 1st Pool ever, but where does one begin...

    Hello Jim and thanks for the detailed info!
    I will be getting the TF-100 as I trust the judgement of everyone who's replied to my post. I also very-much appreciate you're recommendation regarding my need for chlorine, and in particular the amount as I haven't yet gotten a handle on determining proper calculations. With more time to study the info available here on the forum, I look forward to learning all that's necessary.

    The pool contractor's start-up employee told me over the phone that balancing pool chemicals here in the desert is impossible, and that getting them close is sufficient. He explained further that his reasoning is based on his years of experience and my rural sonoran-desert location. We experience 100+degree heat daily from late May through mid October with 20+ days above 110 degrees. Skies are cloudless over 300-days per year and my location endures severe dust storms along with multiple dirt-devils each week.

    Anyhow, I have no-doubt that I've located the best pool-user forum available and hope I can learn from those of you with experience in pool care. I plan to maintain a journal detailing the daily pool readings along with the time and temperature, so as to have a reference in yearly changes. I've been told that my pool should remain operable throughout the year and it's important to me that it remains healthy for my wife and children.

    Thank you very much for you're help as it's much appreciated...

    Chester

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for the link!
    I hope to have the right kit within the next week or-so...

    Chester

    - - - Updated - - -

    After reading the available info here on the forum, I feel much more confident with the idea of managing the chemical balance on my own. I'll be purchasing the TF-100 soon, and no pool-boy for me!

    Thanks for the reply,

    Chester
    12' X 26' In-Ground Gunite w/stonescape mini-pebble finish
    Hayward variable 3-speed pump
    oversized Hayward "SwimClear" cartridge filter
    Clear 03 Ozone water purifying system & Ultimate UV water sanitizer
    ColorLogic LED multicolored lighting

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