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Thread: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

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    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Hi!

    I'm just checking in to say hi and tell y'all where we are so far.

    I am in the middle of a (aren't they always) messy divorce and bought a house with a pool in December. I know absolutely NOTHING about pools and honestly didn't want one, but the house had the bedrooms/space I needed and it was time to get out of the old place.

    The pool was covered and I ignored it until the weather got warm.

    One of my daughters has a friend who works for a pool company. He said that he could open the pool for me and charge less than a service. The problem is that he showed up a couple of times, lowered the level of water in the pool, dumped the leaves off the cover into the water and disappeared.

    About two weeks after that, I realized that I better do SOMETHING if we're going to actually be able to use the blinking thing! So, the children and I started scooping out the leaves. We made considerable progress with that and I have been Googling the brand names of all the equipment out there looking for owner's manuals and advice. I have a Raypack heater, a Triton II sand filter, and a Resilience PSC4 salt water system.

    Yesterday, I took a sample of water to my local pool store for testing, and to get their take on the situation, and this morning I found your forum.

    I haven't finished reading the pool school pages, yet, but I'm so excited to find a place to get unbiased advice!! Although, so far, I'm pretty pleased with the advice I got from my local store. The expert there told me not to buy anything right now.

    Here's where we are right now - I don't know the size, but will be measuring the pool today or tomorrow to at least get the outside dimensions. It's a rectangle so I know y'all will be able to help me make an accurate estimate. It is an inground pool with a vinyl liner. The pool was put in about 30 years ago. I don't know how old the current liner is. It has a salt system that was added at some point. I think that was pretty recent since they are just beginning to get popular in my area. We have a sand filter. The previous owners had moved out of the house a year before I bought it. I do not know if the pool was opened last summer, but I'm pretty sure that they used it regularly through the summer of '08.

    The water testing results:

    Free chlorine 0.0 ppm
    Total Chlorine 0.0 ppm
    pH 6.5
    Hardness 85 ppm
    Alkalinity 30 ppm
    Cyanuric Acid 1 ppm
    Cooper 0 ppm
    Salt 200.00

    The water is brown and nasty looking and we have dragon flies, but I have not seen any frogs. Yet. We have lots of lovely mature trees in the yard, which means we get lots and lots of leaves.

    The expert at my store said to add water back up to above the skimmers (since the disappearing pool boy had taken the level down a foot) then turn on the pool and let it run 24/7, backwash at least once a day, continue to scoop out the big stuff and vacuum the pool with the system on "waste" while adding more water. She also said that once the water is clear we'll need to add a bunch of salt. She also said that the sand in the filter will probably need to be replaced once we get the pool water clear.

    Yesterday we started adding water and the pool is just about full. This morning I turned on the (do you say pump? filter? what?) and we can see the water circulating around.

    Here's the first set of questions:
    Do you think the advice from my pool store was good?
    What would you do differently?
    How long does it take to clear out a swamp?

    I'll add signature stuff momentarily

    Thanks for your help!!
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Hey,

    Welcome to the forum!

    The advice from the pool store was quite good. I'm not a big fan of changing sand but that was the only thing that I might take exception to.

    The speed to clearing the swamp depends on how much time and effort you can give it. A week might be a decent ball park figure.

    My first step would be to raise the pH into the mid 7's. @0 Mule team Borac found at the grocery store will do a nice job of that

    Secondly, it is essential that you remove all the solids from the bottom of the pool. That will be a challenge as you may frequently be scooping blind but that has to be done before proceeding further. Get a high quality leaf rake if you don't own one already.

    Once you get where you are not scooping up solid matter, it's time to get chlorine in the pool and shock the heck out of it.

    I would suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry in Pool School and How to Shock your Pool as well. Turning your Swamp into a Sparkling Oasis is another good article.

    Reading these will get you started and will lead to asking other questions on the forum. You'll find hundreds of good people here willing to help you get the pool back into sparkling condition.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    @0 Mule team Borac
    20 Mule Team Borax

    Welcome Elizabeth - you have come to the right place.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    I will add a suggestion to start a pool book. Record all tests and what is added to the pool, including the result you are expecting. I also keep the phone numbers of the local pool stores so I can all to compare prices, as well as the prices for basics like Muriatic Acid from Lowe's or Home Depot, and bleach from Walmart or Sam's Club or the grocery store.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    orthofish's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    @0 Mule team Borac
    20 Mule Team Borax

    :
    Me too Ann
    Lynn

    16x38 FG, 20,400G, 1HP/2sp Tristar pump, Hayward 425sq ft cart. filter, Pro Logic4, SWCG, 3 returns, 2 main drains, 1 skimmer, 4 Pentair deck jets, Hayward Phantom pressure cleaner/booster pump, TF-100 of course :-)orthofish-s-pool-build-finally-t13179.html

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    orthofish's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Hey MomUv5. Welcome to the forum. Everyone here will help get you through this. A good test kit is a necessity. I could have never gotten my pool in order without one. I got the TF100 kit. It's worth it's weight in gold I don't have any affiliation with them either. The link is in Dave's sig.
    Just saying.
    Lynn

    16x38 FG, 20,400G, 1HP/2sp Tristar pump, Hayward 425sq ft cart. filter, Pro Logic4, SWCG, 3 returns, 2 main drains, 1 skimmer, 4 Pentair deck jets, Hayward Phantom pressure cleaner/booster pump, TF-100 of course :-)orthofish-s-pool-build-finally-t13179.html

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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Welcome to TFP!

    The expert at my store said to add water back up to above the skimmers ...
    You need to be careful not to add so much water as to cover the skimmer holes. The water level should be about halfway up the skimmer hole in order for the skimmers to work correctly and clean the water surface of debris. Just wanted to clarify this.

    How long does it take to clear out a swamp?
    I too found this forum when I had a green swamp in the backyard and the pool store was not helpful. By reading pool school (over and over and over ) and paying attention to the advice the helpful folks here were giving, it took me a few weeks to get the pool in swimmable condition again. Be prepared to use lots and lots of chlorine (bleach), and have lots of patience. It wont happen overnight, but it WILL happen!

    Good luck and soon you will be enjoying your pool and the swamp will be but a distant memory!
    WV Girl

    Custom "L" shape IG gunite pool, 36K gal., main drain, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, hayward heat pump, hayward 1.5hp pump with booster pump, ozonator, 4 cartridge filter.
    one dear hubby, two waterlogged kids, and lots of good times!

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    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Latest update:

    Pool is 18 x 36 rectangle. Three feet deep in the shallow end, 8'8" under the diving board. I ordered a good test kit yesterday.

    I also found a test kit in the shed and pH still measured at 6.8 after having the pump running continuously for over 24 hours. I read on another website that a too-low pH can damage the liner/equipment, so I added a box of 20 mule team borax. Did you know that they have repackaged it?

    I'm going to guess an average of 5' deep?? Which would lead to 24,000 gallons? About. Does that sound reasonable?

    Do I need to add another box of borax? Wait some amount of time and retest before deciding? If so, how much time?
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

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    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    I just found something interesting in the shed. It appears to be a Dolphin Diagnostic robotic pool cleaner.

    Umm, how do I figure out if it works?

    Reviews on Amazon don't look particularly good. Is this a good thing or not?
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Hey a free pool cleaner is always a good thing! There are some people here who have dolphins that should be able to tell you how to hook it up. Or read Dolphin Diagnostic robotic pool cleaner manual
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    The Dolphin Diagnostic is a perfectly fine pool cleaner. All of the robotic pool cleaners have some kind of problem or another and review poorly on Amazon once they have been around for long enough. The Dolphin units aren't the best ones available, but they work well enough.

    If you have all the pieces, you should clean it off, put it together (if required), place it in the water, and turn it on. If it is working, it will start moving around in 10 or 15 seconds. There should be the main unit (with attached floating cable), a power supply, and possibly a caddy. The main unit has a door on the bottom, which opens up to reveal the debris bag. There should also be two plastic "clips" that help hold the debris bag to it's mounting frame.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    Hey a free pool cleaner is always a good thing! There are some people here who have dolphins that should be able to tell you how to hook it up. Or read Dolphin Diagnostic robotic pool cleaner manual
    A link to the manual in just a few minutes?!? Y'all are AWESOME. This is such a helpful forum!

    My boys (14 & 15) are just about to leave for a week-long vacation with their dad. My goal is to have the water clear by the time they get back. Ya' think I can make it? I work from home, so I can monitor the pool regularly.

    Hmmm, better get the girls back to scooping leaves.
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

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    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Well, whaddya' know!! I hosed that thing off, dumped it in the pool, got some power to it, and it started crawling around in there.

    That ought to help some, hunh??
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

  14. Back To Top    #14
    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Update - Yesterday I found the water level lowered by several inches and the pump had lost its prime and was getting hot.

    I turned it off and was totally freaking out because I found a twig stuck in the bottom of the Dolphin, but y'all assured me (on another thread) that it hadn't slashed huge holes in the bottom of the liner.

    I filled the pool back up to the middle of the skimmer openings, and tried to restart the pump. It seemed to be working, but there is now a leak where the pump attaches to the plumbing. I didn't notice the wetness on the ground at first, because we have had rain recently. I called around and couldn't get someone to come out for several days.

    This morning, I decided that it would be wise to get the repair done through my homeowner's warranty in case it turns into something extensive. My co-pay is about as much as a one hour visit (according to one company that I spoke to), but if I need to do more than that I could really add up.

    In the meantime, my test kit will probably come today or tomorrow. I still have a swamp. Today is Tuesday and I am leaving tomorrow to go out of town until Sunday.

    I am really concerned about my swamp breeding lots of mosquitos.

    What should I do until I can get the pump repaired:

    A - put the cover back on
    B - put something in the water to kill mosquito larvae? If so, what?
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Hello and welcome.
    I don't have a salt system, but if I may suggest:
    Check the Pool Calculator

    Since your pump is down, if you add bleach (adding some now can't hurt) make sure you distribute it as best you can... perhaps pouring slowly while you walk around the edge of the pool. I did this with the cover of my pool before I could open it, to keep the algae at bay. You just don't want it all settling in one area.
    13,500 Wilkes Vinyl AG (15'x30' rectangular)
    Hayward Power-Flo LX SP1580, 1HP
    Hayward S-160T High Rate Sand Filter

  16. Back To Top    #16
    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Latest update - HOW is sending a regular plumber tomorrow morning.

    Test kit arrived just now - I don't have time to play with it, I'll be back later today.

    I found some nu-clo Conditioner & Stabilizer in the shed. From my reading in Pool school & "Turning your swamp. . ." I know that I need to get some CYA into the water prior to starting to shock. Pool store test showed 1 ppm, and I need at least 20 (is that right?) so I added all there was (6 cups) in two socks. Set them on the steps until the pump is running.
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

  17. Back To Top    #17
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    I am no real expert, but have been maintaining a pool for many years, been through many colors of the rainbow of water color over the years, etc. So far it looks like your doing everything good. If the pump gets fixed and you have someone that can help take care of running and backwashing it while your our of town, I would suggest having them add a couple of gallons of bleach per day, it should keep everything in check, and it may get you close to or at shock levels if your lucky, at worst it will cost you $10 -$15 of bleach. With water like yours there is no way a couple of gallons of bleach per day for 4 or 5 days will cause chlorine levels to get too high. This is running somewhat blind, but with luck it will put you that much closer to being ready when you get back.

    Ike

    p.s. if you don't have anyone to watch the pool, maybe you have some chlorine tablets or sticks in the shed you could add them to a floating dispenser or some people add them to the skimmer basket to keep chlorine levels up while your gone.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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  18. Back To Top    #18
    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1
    I am no real expert, but have been maintaining a pool for many years, been through many colors of the rainbow of water color over the years, etc. So far it looks like your doing everything good. If the pump gets fixed and you have someone that can help take care of running and backwashing it while your our of town, I would suggest having them add a couple of gallons of bleach per day, it should keep everything in check, and it may get you close to or at shock levels if your lucky, at worst it will cost you $10 -$15 of bleach. With water like yours there is no way a couple of gallons of bleach per day for 4 or 5 days will cause chlorine levels to get too high. This is running somewhat blind, but with luck it will put you that much closer to being ready when you get back.

    Ike

    p.s. if you don't have anyone to watch the pool, maybe you have some chlorine tablets or sticks in the shed you could add them to a floating dispenser or some people add them to the skimmer basket to keep chlorine levels up while your gone.
    Thanks for the suggestions, Ike. It's been a good day as far as the pool is concerned. The guy showed up on time and repaired the leak at the pump. I turned it back on after the stuff? had time to set properly and there seems to be no more leakage!

    I bought a ton of bleach and started dumping in amounts as per the pool calculator. I had lots of mad-scientist fun checking levels and adding as indicated. I also hired a family friend who is a poor grad student to come and backwash and add a couple of gallons daily while we're gone. He's majoring in physics and actually works part-time in a lab, so I had him help testing. We've done some brushing between adding bleach.

    I was totally astounded at how the water started going from dark brown to green as soon as we added the first batch of bleach! I took a couple of before pictures on my phone. I'll add them to the thread once I figure out how to do it.

    I've got my stabilizer in socks suspended in the pool. I also found a floater with some trichlor that I added to the mix. It should help get my CYA up a bit since I was down to nothing.

    I don't expect my water to be clear when I get back, but I'm a whole lot less concerned about being a public health hazard. Thanks for all the help y'all. I can't wait to get back next week and turn this swamp into a lovely oasis.
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

  19. Back To Top    #19
    MomUv5's Avatar
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Status report:

    My physics student/pool boy did a great job keeping things going while I was gone!

    The water is now orangey-brown, but I can see the third step, so that's a major improvement. My pool helper also scooped out a couple of trash bags of sludge from the deep end.

    I'm not sure what time he was here today, but when I checked Chlorine levels it was still at 10.5.

    Tomorrow I'll be hitting to pool hard and will probably have questions.
    Elizabeth

    Newbie with 18 x 36 rectangular pool, estimated at 18,000 gallons, sand filter, inground w/vinyl liner, SWCG

    (Plus a houseful of nearly grown kids)

  20. Back To Top    #20
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    Re: Hi! Complete noob with a swamp

    Keep the bleach and filtration / backwashing going, and when you can get us a more complete set of numbers, at a minimum get us Chlorine (either FC/CC or just TC), and PH as well as a second read on CYA just to find out if the first test was even in the ballpark (pool stores are often very wrong on CYA it seems). If your PH is still below 7 plan to get some Borax or other method of bringing up the PH to make the chlorine more effective.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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