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Thread: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Hi all,
    I'm a new pool owner in Tucson, and don't know a whole lot. I bought a foreclosed house with what was a salt pool, but since the house was foreclosed, it was abandoned and turned into a swamp.

    The bank that owned the house had the pool drained, acid washed, and refilled (so they could sell the house), and it is currently running as a chlorine pool with tabs placed in the skimmer. The chlorine cell (can't remember what brand) and control box are still present. Obviously I am not getting any chlorine generation because there's no salt in the pool (control box says "check cell").

    My questions are: is there any way to determine if the cell and control box work without adding hundreds of pounds of salt? Or, if I do add salt and the cell/box need to be replaced, can I continue to use chlorine tablets in a salty pool until the equipment is replaced?

    Thanks for the help. I'm sure I'll need more before too long...

    edit - the pool is ~11,200 gal in-ground with pebble-tec coating, popup cleaning system, and cartridge filter.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Interesting problem. Without knowing what kind you have, I would guess that the "check cell" message is NOT due to low salt detection. Typically, you will get a low salt message. Check cell is usually more serious.

    I'd recommend adding the salt to the pool - a low cost usually, and then replacing the unit if it is broken if your finances allow. Otherwise, most here would recommend you switch to liquid chlorine (bleach) and add manually. But you can use chlorine in a pool with salt, and eventually, the salt level will get lower and lower with splashout, backwash, or overflows from rain.

    Otherwise, take the cell out and give it a good cleaning following recomendations you can find online from the manufacturer or on this site. Then somehow, and I'm not sure how, you need to have it tested in a small volume of salt water so that you don't need to add salt to the pool. The problem is getting flow through the unit. My unit will actually start producing chlorine even with no flow. At start up it tests the salt level, and if that works, it turns on for a minute before it looks for no or low flow. But your unit may detect no flow first and never come on. So soaking in a bucket of salt water may not work.
    25' x 13' Roman, 12000 gal IGP, Plaster, with 500 gal Spa
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Welcome to TFP!!

    It may be possible to fill a bucket with properly salinated water, put the cell in it and trick the unit into trying to produce. You should see hydrogen bubbles forming and a cl test after a couple of minutes should let you know if the unit is producing

    If you need any more info on this we're here
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Thanks for the replies. Got my test kit and did my chems today.

    FC = ~25 (!?) had to super dilute because it was off the scale; I'm 99% sure I multiplied correctly.
    TC = ~25 (same)
    pH = 7.7
    TA = 250
    CH = 350
    CYA = 90
    CSI = .55

    I guess the pool guy (that isn't supposed to be coming anymore!) shocked it? There are fresh tabs in the skimmer. The clarity of the water has been great since we've lived here. Should I go ahead and take those out, since the chlorine is so high and the CYA is high as well? I was hoping the CYA wouldn't be so high, but oh well...

    I think I'll put salt in the pool this weekend, since I do want to have a salt pool and it apparently won't hurt anything to have it in there. Since the swimming season is over, should I wait on that, or does it matter at all?

    Thanks again everyone. Hopefully I'll be able to usefully contribute to this site someday, but for now I'm the doofus.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Quote Originally Posted by drussin
    FC = ~25 (!?) had to super dilute because it was off the scale; I'm 99% sure I multiplied correctly.
    TC = ~25 (same)
    pH = 7.7
    TA = 250
    CH = 350
    CYA = 90
    CSI = .55

    I guess the pool guy (that isn't supposed to be coming anymore!) shocked it? There are fresh tabs in the skimmer. The clarity of the water has been great since we've lived here. Should I go ahead and take those out, since the chlorine is so high and the CYA is high as well? I was hoping the CYA wouldn't be so high, but oh well...

    Yes. If your measurements are correct (using FAS-DPD chlorine test?) it sure appears that someone has been shocking the pool. Unless that's your intention, get those tabs out of the skimmer pronto! You already realize that the CYA is at the far upper bound of that needed for a salt water pool. Best to let the CYA come down a bit by dilution, over time. Maintaining the pool with a Free Chlorine level of 7-8 ppm should be your goal until the CYA has dropped and/or you begin Salt Water Generation. Once the SWG is in operation a good rule of thumb is to keep Free Chlorine levels at 5% or more of the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) ppm. 90 ppm X .05 = 4.5 ppm

    I think I'll put salt in the pool this weekend, since I do want to have a salt pool and it apparently won't hurt anything to have it in there. Since the swimming season is over, should I wait on that, or does it matter at all?

    I don't think it matters but if you want to get the SWG up and running, do add the salt!

    Your CYA is high so you should discontinue using Trichlor or Dichlor tabs and rely upon liquid chlorine OR add the salt and start up the SWG. If during the winter your water temperature starts flirting with 50 degrees Farenheit, the SWG will stop operating; at that point you may have to supplement by adding some chlorine, but the amount needed will likely be modest.
    Oh, I nearly forgot... Welcome to the forum!
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Hi again, everybody.

    I've been reading lots of stuff on this site in the past week, including pool school (of course). I've been waiting for the FC in my pool to decrease so I can accurately measure pH (and other things), but it's taking a while. Realized I have the Taylor K2005, not the K2006, so it's just a DPD test (only goes up to 5, hence the dilution I've been doing) Can I get a FAS-DPD by itself? I presume the other tests are adequate

    Well, we had the pool boy (man?) come out a couple weeks ago and give us a "pool consultation" so we could learn how all our stuff works. He offered no information freely, only answering pointed questions (hoping we'd forget important stuff and have to pay him more later...yeah right). So, he filled my pool with CYA and then charged me for incomplete information. Nice.

    Well, I forgot some stuff . Like...how do I drain water? I realize it's probably a little different for each pool, but would like to know how. Hauling 5-gallon buckets and dumping them over the fence would get old really quickly! I've read about vacuuming, and understand that my skimmer's got a hole for that. We don't have a vacuum, but will eventually. Similar to the draining question, how does one "vacuum to waste"?

    I didn't get to add the salt last weekend, and am now going to wait till I can replace some water to lower the CYA. On that note, can high FC interfere with a CYA test? I'll also get some MA - got bleach last weekend but haven't needed it yet.

    If I need to disassemble my salt cell, I have no idea how to do that either. I'm a competent/confident (not necessarily the same thing...) DIYer, but don't want to break anything. Are there some basic steps that apply?

    Thanks folks. At least the pool is clear! Too bad that I'd get hypothermia if I tried to use it!
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    You're taking the right course of action!


    You can buy the FAS/DPD test separately from http://www.tftestkits.net/index.php?act ... roductId=2 (I've done it before and the service is GREAT!), or you can buy from Taylor directly.

    There are a few ways to use your system to drain water, I can tell you what adapters you'd need if you'd post a couple of pics of the system -- of course, you could always just attach a hose to the drain port

    Wise you are, for planning for the salt cell If you need to inspect or clean it, it's attached by 2 1/2 unions that are readily disassembled, for easy checking and cleaning

    I'm not sure how 'mechanically inclined' you are, but we can talk you through most anything you need to do for this
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Quote Originally Posted by drussin
    Can I get a FAS-DPD by itself? I presume the other tests are adequate
    Yup. I started with K-2005 and substituted the chlorine test provided with a better one. Try one of these:

    http://www.tftestkits.net/index.php?act ... oductId=23
    http://www.taylortechnologies.com/produ ... KitID=2185

    Quote Originally Posted by drussin
    Like...how do I drain water? I realize it's probably a little different for each pool, but would like to know how. Hauling 5-gallon buckets and dumping them over the fence would get old really quickly! I've read about vacuuming, and understand that my skimmer's got a hole for that. We don't have a vacuum, but will eventually. Similar to the draining question, how does one "vacuum to waste"?
    Not sure how your equipment is set up. As waste suggested, post a few pictures of the equipment pad for more precise instruction.... Draining water may--or may not--be possible from the pad. (It's not on my system, so I use a submersible pump purchased from a home center to expedite things.)

    waste has you covered regarding the salt cell disassembly. It's really easy to do (meaning, I can do it!)
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Hi folks,

    Well, the FC is still slowly decreasing, but still is above 10. I was too lazy to do another test at higher dilution (haven't got my FAS-DPD test yet). So, my pH is still reading high (above 8) but I don't know how accurate it is. Can anyone comment on that? How high does FC need to be before it screws up the pH test? I bought 2 gallons of acid, but have hesitated to add any. The pool already had lots of scale when we got it; that's a job for another season.

    I've attached some pictures of my pool equipment, but I think I've got the draining figured out. Once I looked at it determined to understand it, it started making sense. The valve above the impeller seems like it would be a drain valve, and opening it would send part of the water to the filter and part of the water out. The filter also has a drain valve on the bottom of the back side.

    The SWG looks very easy to remove. I didn't get to add the salt (again), this time I managed to twist the **** out of my ankle while carrying a 100-lb guitar amp So, maybe another time, once I can walk well again. I'm itching to see if my SWG works; bleach for now.

    The pump made some agonizing squealing noises when it came on last night, so I'll be cleaning the cartridges (all stinking 4 of them...) tonight, and hopefully that will help, pressure is at 8.5 above the blue needle. The noise went away after a couple of minutes; meaning it stopped shortly after I got out of bed, hobbled down the stairs, dug around for the flashlight, and made my way out to the backyard. Could having a bit of air in the system cause strange pump noises as well? I know there's a little air, since we have a small (very slow, but constant) leak right above the impeller. We can see bubbles in the little pump skimmer and in the in-floor cleaner can-thingy when the pump first starts.

    Thanks again all. I'll post a few more pictures momentarily.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    just more pictures...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    last of the pictures...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Quote Originally Posted by drussin
    So, my pH is still reading high (above 8) but I don't know how accurate it is. Can anyone comment on that? How high does FC need to be before it screws up the pH test?

    The pump made some agonizing squealing noises when it came on last night, so I'll be cleaning the cartridges [...] Could having a bit of air in the system cause strange pump noises as well? I know there's a little air, since we have a small (very slow, but constant) leak right above the impeller.
    I believe that Free Chlorine levels above 5 ppm have some effect on the pH test, but they don't become evident until the FC is in the teens and twenties ppm. You may want to wait on that Muriatic Acid until you can test pH at a FC level of below 10 ppm.

    The squealing noises might be indicative of several things. Have you checked/cleared the pump filter strainer basket? Tried re-seating the pump strainer lid (lube with Jacks and hand-tighten)? If could be cavitation from the leak you've identified; something caught in the impeller; a failed seal or bearings.... try fixing the easy stuff first.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Thanks for the pics

    Check the underside of the pump for water after it's been running ~ an hour to see if it's a shaft seal or housing gasket problem causing the squeal.

    You can use the spigot to remove water (as you surmise, you'll not do a quick job of it that way - it's a 3/4" hose). To lose water more quickly you can put a SP 1091-Z-7 backwash fitting onto either the filter drain or into one of the regular returns in the pool and attach the vacuum hose to it (I realize that you have the infloor system, but should still have one or two wall returns to help move the surface water)
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    So, we got the carts cleaned. That's a big itchy job! It made a huge difference in the system pressure (29 to 21 psi) but didn't do anything about the pump squeal. I now can see the needle spike for a few seconds when the in-floor cleaning system is changing from one zone to the next. That seems to make sense; can anyone else with an in-floor system confirm that it's normal?

    The pump only squeals for the first minute or so of operation. I listened to it for a while last night, and it while the horrible noise is short-lived, there's a quieter scraping noise that persists. Finding the source of that seems like the first priority, before draining water. I also believe I have a suction side air leak, since i saw a million tiny bubbles in the pump basket when it was running. I did remove the lid and clean the basket before starting the pump, so it's possible that I didn't get it back on tight enough. I'll check tonight if the bubbles disappear when changing from skimmer only to drain only suction; right now the valve's set approximately in the middle.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Also, I ordered the FAS-DPD kit yesterday

    According to my dilution tests, the FC was down to about 8 last night. I'll check again today and probably add acid; the pH was still about 8.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    You're doing things correctly and in the right order

    The pressure spike while the in floor system is changing zones is 100% normal!

    I strongly suspect that the seal assembly 'went South' on your pump at some point in the past (and may still be leaking) which is why I asked you to check for the telltail drip -- sounds like the bearings or the shaft is slightly rusted and that's the cause of the noise

    Please keep up with your good work and let us know what you find
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Waste, thanks very much for paying attention to me

    When I started the pump today...no evil noise. No squeals, no grinding. Nothing but normal happy pump noises. Very very few bubbles in the pump basket. Life is strange sometimes.

    FC is still high; it doesn't seem to have dropped at all since yesterday. Hopefully I'll get the FAS-DPD test tomorrow, and can finally know something for certain!
    We're having 2 rooms of furniture (including a pool...table, hopefully trouble free ) delivered and set up on saturday, so I'll be home all day to keep an eye on the water level while I drain.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Thank you for caring enough about your pool to come here and care for it the right way!

    Enjoy the new pool table and keep us abreast as to what's going on with your swimming pool
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    An update if anyone's interested:

    drained ~50% of the water last weekend, CYA now is ~45-50

    TA of my fill water is about 250, so I'm working on bringing that down. As of yesterday, TA = 230 and CH = 220. I lowered pH to about 7 and will be scrubbing to remove some very fine scale on the pebble finish. It is tiny crystals that come off with a hard finger-scrubbing, so I don't imagine a stout brush will have much trouble removing it. Would you recommend a stainless steel brush for a pebble pool?

    I got my FAS-DPD test, and finally had to add chlorine after filling.

    It's no fun doing all this work when it's too cold to swim anyway! I'm always afraid I'll fall in.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Former salt pool - now chlorine b/c of foreclosure.

    Quote Originally Posted by drussin
    It's no fun doing all this work when it's too cold to swim anyway! I'm always afraid I'll fall in.
    Me, too! But for some reason I never do, when a quick dip would mean 4 hours in front of the fire afterward. I confess that I fell into the shallow end once, while sweeping the concrete surround near the beginning of July. The funny thing was what my unconscious mind found important to preserve at that moment of free fall. It sacrificed my knee to the edge of the coping, but "saved" the push broom I was using, so that I found myself standing upright in the pool with the broom thrust over my head and grasped horizontally, not any part of it wetted by the pool that surrounded me.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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