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Thread: Need MAJOR help please

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    Need MAJOR help please

    Ok I am relatively new to this. My husbands method of pool care is dump a lot of chlorine in until it is bluish and then dump a lot of clarifier in until it is clearish. We have an IG gunite pool 28000 gallons. We have a Hayworth sand filter. This year we had emptied the pool to do some tile work so it sat empty a month or so. We had it filled with pool water, chlorinated and it has been great. While the pool was down we had the pool company come replace the sand in the filter. All has been running well. When I went to vacuum the pool today huge clouds of brownish/green came out of all the filter things in the pool. It is disgusting. Now my pool is cloudy and a lovely shade of greenish/brown. It had looked fine just some dirt on the bottom. Anyone know what is wrong and what I can do to fix it? My kids birthday part is in a week and we want the pool clean. Thank yo so much in advance for your help!
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    First off, can you provide a full set of test results for us?

    Have you vacuumed before? If so, I assume it didn't throw stuff back into the pool?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    I don't have any test results. Honestly in the 8 years we have owned the pool my husband has used the above described method. It has always done this to a small extent. The pool company sai dit was because we needed new sand but that has seemed to make it much worse not better.
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    It has always done this to a small extent.
    If that's the case it's most likely either the multiport or there is a lateral broken. I suspect it's the multiport valve because if it was a lateral you'd be getting sand in the pool.

    You really should get a good test kit and take control of your pool. Doing it like that makes for a very unsanitary pool.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    OK sorry but what is a multiport? Is there a way for me to "fix" this problem? Any recommendation for an inexpensive simple test kit.
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    I might have assumed incorrectly after thinking about it. A multiport valve is the valve where you switch the filter to the different functions (filter, backwash, etc), but you could have a slide valve instead of a multiport. A multiport will be round with a handle on top that rotates. A slide valve will be tall with a handle on top that you pull up or push down. Which do you have?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Quote Originally Posted by alyssatuininga
    Any recommendation for an inexpensive simple test kit.
    I may come off a little harsh when saying this, but why would you want to skimp on a test kit when you are clearly burning through money with your current method of pool care? Getting a good test kit like the TF-100 that duraleigh sells here will save you money in the end since you know exactly what your pool chemistry is. That translates to knowing exactly what you need to do to bring your chemistry into normal ranges.
    10k gal. IG vinyl, 1 hp pump, 200 lb sand filter, solar panels & cover

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    First of all let me say thank you for responding and thanks for trying to help me out.

    We do have a multiport. We usually vacuum on the filter setting. Perhaps I am doing this wrong. Sorry if I am coming across as a moron. We got no information with our pool when we bought our house. My husband had a pool as a kid and has pretty much taken over the care. I have been happy to let him do it his way until now. I am frustrated with not understanding how things work etc. I am trying to understand and did a lot of reading on this site but I am overwhelmed and I have 3 small kids to care for (not really relevant just doesn't leave me a lot of time for hours of internet reading).

    As far as the test kit goes I guess what I was emphasizing was simple. I don't understand why I would spend $100 on an expensive complicated test kit when I have no idea what all the numbers mean. I was just thinking if I start small I can try and figure this all out...
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Is it constantly blowing debris out your returns? Or did it stop after a while?

    The TF-100 is a great kit! You can do all the tests you need to keep your pool sparkling!!! And it's easy to use too!
    5,000 Gallon 16'x 48" Intex Ultra Frame, Waterway 1hp sand filter, Intex SWG, AquaCritter, TF100
    Climate/Location: SW Iowa

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    It did stop after a while (maybe 2 min). The pool was clear and blue when I started. Now it is cloudy and whitish blue. It plumed out of each return when I started vacuuming and the subsided after a while. Not sure why this is happening. Is the pool test kit really going to tell me that though? Seems like a problem with my pump or something. I guess I will order the test kit I am just worried that the results won't mean much to me.
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    The results might not mean much to you in the beginning but it'll mean a lot to us. Given the way you've been maintaining your pool what you're seeing might be algae or it might be chemical balance.

    Since you have a multiport valve you could try inspecting the spider gasket first. You have to take the top off the valve and look for nicks or cuts. You can get a manual from the internet if you don't have one.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    OK I did check out the spider gasket and everything looks fine with the gasket. I cleaned it and put it back together.

    I went and ordered the Taylor 100 kit but it will probably take a few days to arrive. I went to our pool store and bought the recommended kit there. (figure something is better for now with time constraints) So it has a test for Chlorine which was .5, bromine which was 2, ph which was 7.5, total alkalinity which was 100, total hardness which was 180 ppm. There was also a test for cyanuric acid which I think I did wrong because it never got cloudy.
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Everyone here will push you in the direction of a good test kit and self education in the pool school. This is definitely an investment in money and valuable time. This is daunting at first. Too many terms, too many abbreviations, too much to handle.

    But it beats that out of control feeling when things go wrong. Take it slow. You might consider having your water tested by a few different pool stores and posting those results. Pool store test results can vary widely.



    To clarify on the filter - when you vacuum you dont adjust the Multi-port, just plug in and go?

    Do you have a main floor drain?

    You dont happen to have a Variable speed pump that ramps way up when you plug in your vacuum?

    It certainly sounds like all the gunk you're vacuuming is somehow bypassing the filter - hence suspecting the multi-port.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Quote Originally Posted by alyssatuininga
    OK I did check out the spider gasket and everything looks fine with the gasket. I cleaned it and put it back together.

    I went and ordered the Taylor 100 kit but it will probably take a few days to arrive. I went to our pool store and bought the recommended kit there. (figure something is better for now with time constraints) So it has a test for Chlorine which was .5, bromine which was 2, ph which was 7.5, total alkalinity which was 100, total hardness which was 180 ppm. There was also a test for cyanuric acid which I think I did wrong because it never got cloudy.
    I think we can run with these.

    Cyanuric acid (CYA) is the sunscreen that protects your chlorine. If that is low then your chlorine will dissapear in a matter of hours on a sunny day. Since you say FC is 0.5, that sounds reasonable.

    You say you filled the pool up recently... how recently? Did you add any stabilizer/conditioner then? What sort of chlorine do you use? Some will add CYA some will not. If you know exactly how much of what sort of chlorine you have used since filling up we may be able to guess at the level. If you used pucks of some sort, then there is some CYA. If you used powder, then maybe, maybe not.

    I am wondering if the refilling was so recent and the chlorine has added little or no CYA at this point, then maybe you simply need to add CYA to get to 30 - 50 ppm, and add chlorine to get to 5 ppm. It may be that the gunk was just debris in the lines, and with such low FC, since it is burning off in the sunlight, you are on the verge of an algae breakout. If this is the case, you will use the Pool Calculator to determine how much stabilizer, add in a stocking tied near a return in the pool so that it can dissolve without being lost in a backwash of the filter. This theory if correct would mean that there is nothing wrong with the filter or the way you vacuumed, just the FC is low because the CYA is low.

    So, do some research and get back with us on the refill process and what chemicals you have used since then.
    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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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Chlorine looks low. Ph fine. Calcium is a little low for a plaster pool.

    Any idea what your husband uses for chlorine? If it says something like "Calcium-hypochlorite" 73% it would explain why you get 0 CYA and have relatively hard water for the east coast. I can only assume you never intentionally added Calcium to your water when you refilled it yes?

    Not enough Calcium in your water can be hard on your plaster - the calcium can dissolve out of the plaster and cause it to fail.

    If you are using cal-hypo exclusively you loose most of your chlorine to sunlight - but you keep the cover on it mostly right? Otherwise I'd be surprised you dont have more trouble with algae.

    (Totally agree with anona - a little more research into your chems will help this out)
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Quote Originally Posted by lightingguy

    To clarify on the filter - when you vacuum you dont adjust the Multi-port, just plug in and go?

    Do you have a main floor drain?

    You dont happen to have a Variable speed pump that ramps way up when you plug in your vacuum?

    It certainly sounds like all the gunk you're vacuuming is somehow bypassing the filter - hence suspecting the multi-port.
    When I vacuum I turn off the pump, plug in the hose, turn the pump back on (never changing the multiport). We do have a main floor drain. We don't have a variable speed pump.
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Quote Originally Posted by anonapersona
    I think we can run with these.

    Cyanuric acid (CYA) is the sunscreen that protects your chlorine. If that is low then your chlorine will dissapear in a matter of hours on a sunny day. Since you say FC is 0.5, that sounds reasonable.

    You say you filled the pool up recently... how recently? Did you add any stabilizer/conditioner then? What sort of chlorine do you use? Some will add CYA some will not. If you know exactly how much of what sort of chlorine you have used since filling up we may be able to guess at the level. If you used pucks of some sort, then there is some CYA. If you used powder, then maybe, maybe not.

    I am wondering if the refilling was so recent and the chlorine has added little or no CYA at this point, then maybe you simply need to add CYA to get to 30 - 50 ppm, and add chlorine to get to 5 ppm. It may be that the gunk was just debris in the lines, and with such low FC, since it is burning off in the sunlight, you are on the verge of an algae breakout. If this is the case, you will use the Pool Calculator to determine how much stabilizer, add in a stocking tied near a return in the pool so that it can dissolve without being lost in a backwash of the filter. This theory if correct would mean that there is nothing wrong with the filter or the way you vacuumed, just the FC is low because the CYA is low.

    So, do some research and get back with us on the refill process and what chemicals you have used since then.

    Wow I had no idea what CYA even was. We filled the pool about a month ago. We just had "treated" (I think just chlorinated) pool water delivered. All we have added since filling is chlorine granules calcium hydrochlorite 73%. We also added hth super concentrated clarifier when it was cloudy but I don't even know what that is or what it does.
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Quote Originally Posted by lightingguy

    Any idea what your husband uses for chlorine? If it says something like "Calcium-hypochlorite" 73% it would explain why you get 0 CYA and have relatively hard water for the east coast. I can only assume you never intentionally added Calcium to your water when you refilled it yes?

    Not enough Calcium in your water can be hard on your plaster - the calcium can dissolve out of the plaster and cause it to fail.

    If you are using cal-hypo exclusively you loose most of your chlorine to sunlight - but you keep the cover on it mostly right? Otherwise I'd be surprised you dont have more trouble with algae.

    (Totally agree with anona - a little more research into your chems will help this out)
    Ok so that is exactly what we use for chlorine. We go through a lot of it imo. We have never added calcium in 8 years of having the pool. We do not cover the pool except when we winterize it. We do have a lot of trouble with algae. It will go from clear blue to green in days and then my dear husband dumps in a **** load of chlorine and it is blue again.....
    IG Gunite pool with Hayward sand filter 28,000 gallon

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Now we are getting somewhere. Certainly some pool school time is in order - but here are some basics.

    Chlorine - kills the algae. It gets used up everyday. Sunlight breaks it down, algae breaks it down, etc. Chlorine is the thing you need to worry about "daily" as in knowing you have Free chlorine in the water everyday.

    CYA - this protects your chlorine from Sunlight. It's a buffer - the chlorine binds too it and it's dispensed slowly as needed. Most people have trouble with too much CYA from using Tablets or pucks. Since it doesn't really break down it can build up and prevent chlorine from being available to battle algae. There are ideal numbers for CYA in the Pool School.

    The good news - you have no issues which would require water replacement.

    Badish news - Without CYA your pool looses all it's chlorine to sunlight in 1 day or so (depending how shaded the pool is.)

    Short term - get some CYA in the water, get some chlorine in the water. Since you have a timeline issue I'd start shocking it now in the hopes of being cleaned up in a week. Since you low Total Hardness numbers (Calcium) you can use the Cal-Hypo you have now to shock and have the added benefit of boosting your calcium. You dont want to use this forever though - calcium will build up and cause scale.

    As to the filter thing - this is much harder to diagnose over the internet. As suggested it could just be a case of stirring up the algae at the bottom of your pool. Algae can pass through a sand filter sometimes.

    As for the whole BBB thing - my pool uses about 1.5 gallons of 12% liquid chlorine a week. It costs me less than $20 month to maintain the chemicals. The pool never has algae. Learning all that stuff in pool school and being consistent with the maintenance isn't a free ride - but it sure beats where our pool was last year.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Need MAJOR help please

    Ok, well we know what is going on then. No CYA, low FC, algae breakouts. Algae is green, then when hit with chlorine turns brown or grey, then the water is cloudy until the filter takes that all out, then you have to clean the filter.

    So, you need stabilizer/conditioner to protect your chlorine. Lots of folks like the HTH brand at Walmart but that can be getting in short supply as the season goes on. Also try Home Depot, Lowe's, and Ace hardware. Figure out the volume of your pool and use the Pool Calculator to determine what you need to add. Follow the instructions in Pool School, or just ask again when you have that info.

    You want to get CYA up to about 30 ppm right now and then start shocking. That will keep some of the chlorine from burning off in the sunlight. That is the main thing. Then it is just a choice of what sort of chlorine to use. Once CYA is correct, you have to be careful using tablets as they add CYA and you don't want it above 50. Cal-hypo adds calcium, and you want that to be between 250 and 350 ppm, you are somewhere below 180 now. Bleach or liquid chlorine shock has no CYA or calcium.

    You want to bring CH up some more, so it is OK to keep using the cal-hypo for now. Or go buy some calcium increaser. Let's look at the Pool Calculator to see how much cal-hypo you need to add to get you from 180 to 250 ppm CH (actually CH is less than the Total Hardness you have so you will need more this is just for info).... 16 oz of 63% cal-hypo give you about 2 ppm CH in your pool and about 3 ppm FC. Based on the FC you could add a pound of cal-hypo a day, once the pool is clean and stable, adding 2 ppm. You need 70 ppm more, or about 35 lbs. Or half as much calcium chloride. Price both of those at the pool store to decide. You get the chlorine with the cal-hypo and that is about the same amount as a big jug of bleach so I think I might favor the cal-hypo now. You will probably need a few lbs a day, hard to say without good tests.

    Right now, I'd toss about 3 lbs of cal-hypo into the pool, be sure to brush it in and don't let it sit on the bottom. I have no idea of how often to do that, for that you need to be testing every hour. What test kit did you get? The TF-100 from online or something from a pool 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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