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Thread: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

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    Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    Thank you so much to everyone on this board. My pool maintenance went from a nightmare last year where it seemed like I could never EVER get away from the algae to literally spending about 15-20 minutes a day this year along with maybe an hour cleaning during the weekend.

    Here are some things I've learned that may help others:

    1. Pool replacement items are incredibly cheap but incredibly important to keep in good shape. Skimmer baskets, a working PSI gauge, rubber gasket around pump basket, skimmer lids, nets, vacuum heads, etc all cost under $20 each and can LITERALLY make the difference between a great pool season and disaster. If you inherit an existing pool, go ahead & budget a couple hundred dollars and replace all the 'easy' stuff that is probably brittle from the sun or age.

    2. I kept my pool pump running 24/7 from April to September last year (much to the dismay of my electric bill) out of fear my pool would get 'stagnant' and having fought with algae the entire year, I assumed it needed to run that much. This year I bought an $80 Intermatic CA3750 zwave switch and it was WORTH. EVERY. PENNY. I am using a WINK hub to control it and my pump literally runs for 2 hours 3x over a 24 hour period and the pool is happy and fine and I haven't had a single issue.

    3. As a corollary to #2, keep an eye on the pressure gauge, if it drops dramatically, your pump basket is likely clogged, if it goes up a few PSI your sand filter probably needs backwashed. Its so easy once you feel you have your pool 'dialed in'! I saw my PSI way down last weekend, emptied the pump basket, turned it back on and noticed it was 3-4 PSI HIGHER than normal, did a quick backwash and then it was back happy & running like a champ.

    4. Never let your pool water level drop to the point your strainer bin starts sucking in air. The best way to limit your pool's chlorine hunger is to trap the stuff that falls in there and not let it drop to the bottom of the pool because the water level is too low to use the strainer instead of the drain. You want the leaves & stuff to go into the strainer and not fall apart into tiny debris on the bottom of the pool!

    5. Speaking of chlorine, I feel like an idiot for not realizing I was pouring money down the drain (literally) by putting liquid chlorine in in the mornings. The sun bakes all the chlorine out (especially with the muggy 90+ degree days we've had for over a month here) and so its not going to work on the sunscreen and organic matter in the pool. Putting the chlorine in at night has made all the difference in the world. It will clean all night and there will still be a significant amount left by midmorning. By the time I come home from work, the chlorine is virtually gone so I put another gallon in before bed. After experimenting, it seems my pool wants to drink at least a gallon a day right now which I'm guessing has to do with the humidity and heat.

    6. $50 for a hose strainer is the best money you can spend. My pump basket is old and I would rather not wear it out (plus its freaking hard to open) so if you manually vacuum your pool, its much easier to empty a hose basket (plus you can tell when its getting full and reducing suction) rather than shutting the whole system down and opening the pump basket. Think of this as an additional line of defense before pool garbage gets all the way into the impeller.

    7. After a good vacuum/cleaning, I highly recommend backwashing your sand filter immediately. I can clean my pool and come out a few hours later & see black stuff in little piles near the liner edges on the bottom of the pool particularly near my outflows and it finally dawned on me it was stuff getting through the sand back into the pool. I have some DE but haven't had the nerve to try adding it yet so I've found if you backwash IMMEDIATELY after vacuuming your pool, that will significantly reduce the smaller debris from going right back into the pool.

    8. 15-20 minutes EVERY DAY! No excuses! Net the pool, test & add chlorine, and check the PSI to ensure everything is within range.

    9. Baking soda, muriatic acid and liquid chlorine has been all i've needed to keep the pool in shape. The PH seems to slowly rise over time and so about once every couple months I need to add some acid then it takes a day or 2 to get the akalalinty back up (it drops dramatically no matter how careful I try to be with the acid) but once its back in shape, its back to daily chlorine.

    10. I didn't close my pool last year (live in Nashville) so I didn't have to play 'whats under the cover' this past spring. Once the temp dropped, I never added chlorine but kept the leaves & debris cleared out. If the temp was going below freezing overnight, i'd go ahead & run the pump overnight until the temp got above freezing to keep water moving but since those pipes are UNDER the pool/ground there was less chance they would freeze. Once April hit my pool was looking AMAZING before anyone else ever rolled their covers back. The only question at that time was how brave I was to jump in the icy water.


    I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out, but thanks to this place, the pool went from my most HATED part of the house we bought to something that can be maintained about as easily as a lawn.
    33x15' INGROUND pool roughly 14,800 gallons. liner, hayward multiport, sand filter (S-210S), pentair century 3/4hp pump (1081) & 320 automatic chlorinator. skimmer at one end of pool, 2 returns at the other.

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    banditig's Avatar
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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    Hi, whats your CYA level? sounds like the sun is burning your clorine up.
    15x54 swim & play vinyl metal wall AG
    Hayward S210T sand filter 1.5 HP Pentair Superflo vs
    Rheem raypak 130,000 BTU mv ng
    Jacuzzi 345 whirlpool bath
    TF-100 test kit, HM digital com100 Wanda the Whale

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    i haven't tested CYA at all this year but I can tell you it was around 50(?) last year i think when i was doing my SLAM. would/should I try to raise it? i have only put liquid chlorine in the pool for over a year now. no chlorine tabs or anything else like that.
    33x15' INGROUND pool roughly 14,800 gallons. liner, hayward multiport, sand filter (S-210S), pentair century 3/4hp pump (1081) & 320 automatic chlorinator. skimmer at one end of pool, 2 returns at the other.

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    banditig's Avatar
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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    I would test it, especially if you had a bunch of rain or added water.
    15x54 swim & play vinyl metal wall AG
    Hayward S210T sand filter 1.5 HP Pentair Superflo vs
    Rheem raypak 130,000 BTU mv ng
    Jacuzzi 345 whirlpool bath
    TF-100 test kit, HM digital com100 Wanda the Whale

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    CYA should be tested monthly.

    Somehow mine went down quite a bit over 2 months last spring...no water was replaced and my CH levels are
    the same...took me by surprise. I was losing a lot more chlorine to sunlight than usual.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
    Dolphin E10 Cleaning Robot.

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    thank you so much! I need to re-read the pool testing section I guess to see how to get the CYA levels up. I completely ignored that this year..was just happy there was no algae so $3/day for chlorine seemed a small price to pay. but if i can reduce that by raising the CYA that seems smart.
    33x15' INGROUND pool roughly 14,800 gallons. liner, hayward multiport, sand filter (S-210S), pentair century 3/4hp pump (1081) & 320 automatic chlorinator. skimmer at one end of pool, 2 returns at the other.

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    You missed the most important thing.... a good test kit, preferablyy the tf-100. What is your CYA? Having the appropriate CYA level is very important and can vary by location and sometimes season.

    You should only backwash when your pressure rises 25% above the clean pressure... sand filters work best when a little dirty, so backwashing after you vacuum and before the pressure has risen 25% is a waste of treated water and reduces the efficacy of filtration.

    Do you have an above ground pool or inground... please add it to your signature.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    i have that test kit. just haven't used it this year because the pool hasn't had any problems. i didn't realize until now that i was using too much chlorine.
    33x15' INGROUND pool roughly 14,800 gallons. liner, hayward multiport, sand filter (S-210S), pentair century 3/4hp pump (1081) & 320 automatic chlorinator. skimmer at one end of pool, 2 returns at the other.

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    I also find keeping a notebook log of each time you test helps track of trending numbers and chemical additions.
    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

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    the low CYA makes perfect sense to me (even though i havent tested it) because earlier in the spring i would get great results with a half gallon of bleach and now its taking a full gallon each day. a low CYA would explain why i add chlorine so frequently.

    i have a huge stash of chlorine tabs; would it make sense to use the chlorinator for awhile with those to get the CYA level up and also deplete my supply?
    33x15' INGROUND pool roughly 14,800 gallons. liner, hayward multiport, sand filter (S-210S), pentair century 3/4hp pump (1081) & 320 automatic chlorinator. skimmer at one end of pool, 2 returns at the other.

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    I wonder about the internal health of your filter. I would normally think you could follow TFP guidelines about adding DE, but reading your description, I would expect it to shoot right back into your pool. I haven't seen anything pass through my filter. Is it possible that your sand has become channeled and/or you have damaged laterals/standpipe? Have you performed a deep cleaning?
    12,000 gal Diamond Brite indoor​ pool. Pentair Triton TR-60 Sand Filter +added DE, Lochinvar Energyrite ERN-200 gas heater, Pentair Multi-valve, Pentair SuperFlo VS pump, TF-100 kit, Pool Math App - iOS

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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    Quote Originally Posted by nyvram View Post
    the low CYA makes perfect sense to me (even though i havent tested it) because earlier in the spring i would get great results with a half gallon of bleach and now its taking a full gallon each day. a low CYA would explain why i add chlorine so frequently.

    i have a huge stash of chlorine tabs; would it make sense to use the chlorinator for awhile with those to get the CYA level up and also deplete my supply?
    Sounds like you need to back to Pool School. You should be testing FC and PH daily, CH and TA weekly and the most test CYA monthly. Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

    If you test and find that your CYA is a little low, say for example it is 30 and you want it to be 40, sure tabs will help you get there eventually. You would still need to test FC and PH daily and adjust (more liquid chlorine or turn down the chlorinator).

    However, if you are sitting at less than 30 and need to get to 40, you really need to use powdered or liquid stabilizer.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Year 2 of my liner pool lessons learned --- HUGE improvement over Year 1!

    Quote Originally Posted by nyvram View Post
    the low CYA makes perfect sense to me (even though i havent tested it) because earlier in the spring i would get great results with a half gallon of bleach and now its taking a full gallon each day. a low CYA would explain why i add chlorine so frequently.

    i have a huge stash of chlorine tabs; would it make sense to use the chlorinator for awhile with those to get the CYA level up and also deplete my supply?
    It would make sense to test the CYA before you add any more. If you add too much then you will end up having to partially drain the pool to correct the CYA level.
    TFP Moderator
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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