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Thread: New Pool Owner

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    New Pool Owner

    My wife and I close on our new house with pool Tuesday. We are really looking forward to having a family pool with two boys under six and twins on the way. Our surprise addition will make vacationing at home a necessity. Our Guardian 4 1/2 foot fence is supposed to be installed on Wed. Safety first.

    Current owner is maintaining but I notice while visiting today the water is getting a little cloudy and leaves are on the bottom -- he's checked out. The automated cleaner is not getting used. He is uses the tablets in the skimmer and in a floater. He also puts in some sort of laundry "blue" product to make the water sparkle for parties and, I'm sure, open houses. I won't know till Tuesday just what kind of test equipment and chemicals I will have to start. Hopefully the manuals, etc. for the pool will also have some idea of volume. After reading this forum for a while I've decided to just go ahead and purchase the TF-100 test kit to get started.

    Needless to say, the backyard view is one of the highlights of the house. I hate to shut the pool down. Actually, I am wondering if we can get by just leaving it open. Previous owner swears he never closed it or covered it and had no problems even in the winter storms and power outages we had a couple of years ago.

    Thanks in advance for the advice and feedback.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

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    benavidescj's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Welcome to TFP and congratulations on your new house and pool! The view is beautiful!

    You have come to the right place and it appears you are well on your way by purchasing a good test kit to check the chemical levels.

    To answer your question, many owners will leave their pool open during the winter, including myself. But I live in Florida. The issue is temperature, and how long the temperature stays below freezing. In some areas of the country the temperature will stay below freezing so long that the pool itself will freeze causing lots of damage. I think that in OK the temperature averages above freezing which may be alright. If the previous owner says he did it then I would assume it would be ok for you as well. Some of the experts here may know better.

    Once you get your pool up and running, ask lots of question here. You will find the people here very friendly and willing to help. If you use the test kit you bought and read the pool school, you will find that your pool will be "Trouble Free".
    Carlos
    Pool: 28,000 gallons IG; IC 40 SWG; Pentair 120 gpm cartridge filter; Marble finish; Pentair Wisperflow 1.5 hp; Polaris 360
    Spa: 350 gallon; Bromine
    How to shock your pool

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: New Pool Owner

    I'd say, while the previous owner may not have been a pro, you can probably rely on him when he say's he's never had to close the pool or otherwise had trouble. I've purchased a few homes with pools already installed--if only because a standard in-ground pool often lowers the resale value, and I have to move a lot--and the owners have always taken adequate care, if only barely. Shouldn't be hard for you to get the pool in tip top shape.

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    I suggest that second- you begin reading Pool School. (First was to buy the TF100 test kit - bravo, well done.)

    As you read, print out any parts that are hard to understand.

    Next, get familiar with the Pool Calculator which will become your best friend, next to all your new friends here at TFP. Also mark or print the CYA/Chlorine chart.

    Finally, get a binder and begin a pool book. Put all the things you printed in it. Then any notes you make while reading in the forum. Add the addresses and phone numbers of the places you will buy chemicals -- local grocery stores, Walmart, Target, Costco, Sams, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, etc., plus the local pool stores. Don't buy chemicals yet, but go on and shop around. You MAY need Muriatic acid or Baking soda or Washing Soda, you WILL need chlorine in some form or even all forms. That is 6% bleach, 10% or 12% liquid chlorine sold as "liquid shock", cal-hypo, trichlor pucks.

    Visit a local pool store and see if they will offer you a squeeze bottle for water sample testing. While you are there, look at prices of the stuff listed above and buy nothing yet -- well maybe a Wall Whale pool brush if you don't have one yet. You can't buy chemicals until you know what you need, for that you need testing.

    When the test kit comes in, do a full test. I suggest you reorganize the box to match the order of the tests on the label, just to keep you from reaching for the wrong bottle. Record the test results then work with the calculator to see what the pool may need. Post here before you actually put anything into the pool, in case something is off we may notice it.

    Oooh, long post... do not be afraid. All this preparation is what will make this pool such a snap to take care of, at a reasonable cost.
    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.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: New Pool Owner

    Test kit is on the way. Should I do anything to the pool between now and when I get the kit (other than keep reading pool school)? Add some maintenance bleach or just have patience?

    Thanks.
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Welcome to TFP ...If you ordered the kit today, you should have it by Wed/Thursday. Adding 1/2 gal of 6% bleach on Tuesday after you close and the pump is running will not harm a thing, if it makes you feel better. Post a full set of results when you get the kit and we'll help you enjoy the pool. I have 4 of my own, ages 3-9, with a set of twins in there too , so I know what your up against, but I will say this forum and the TF100 will ensure that the pool is the least of your worries

    Enjoy the new home and the pool too!
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Nice to know I am not alone...I'm pretty sure that the pool will be the least of my worries...at least till Spring. Twins arrive the last week of December...that is what the Dr. has promised me.
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    One of the things you will need to be aware of is what is in the well water. It may make a difference if you need to replace water for any reason. If you have test data, particularly metal content, put that into your book. In fact, that is probably what I'd take to the local pool store for a free water test, to ask if they find metals. And also a sample of pool water, to see what they say about CYA levels, although you will test for that later it is nice to have a starting point.

    You said there are some leaves in the pool. After closing, take inventory of the tools left behind. Look for a leaf rake -- search for a photo of one in the pool equipment encyclopedia or on any pool store website. Use that to push along the floor of the pool to scoop up leaves from the bottom. Normally that's the job of the pool cleaner but you said it was not working, that will be one of the things you will tackle right after water chemistry. My leaf rake has a hard lip on it, like a dust pan, which makes it easier to grab stuff as you push it along.

    Meanwhile, use the skimmer net (flat net like a tennis racket) to remove floating leaves, then the leaf rake to get submerged leaves and sticks. Keep the skimmers cleaned, maybe daily depending on your tree situation.

    When I got my pool inspected for the purchase, the guy said to turn off the filter, and showed me how, then empty the skimmer baskets. That way the leaves you miss won't flow to the filter pump basket. Check the filter basket as well but it probably does not need cleaning every time. Even less if you use skimmer socks. Search the forum for a discussion of skimmer socks. My husband has taken over the skimmer baskets now and he turns the system on for a moment after doing the skimmers, then shuts it down again to clean the pump basket. There are always some bits of stuff that escape the skimmers and end up there and it is so annoying to see it dirty right after you took the time to clean it out.

    Always look in the skimmer before sticking your hand in -- depending on your location there might be frogs or snakes or rats or dead things in there.

    Also, keep an eye on the water level. If the returns begin blowing bubbles, either the skimmers are overfull or the water level is low.

    That's pretty much the every other day routine for me here in Houston (looking at the plants in your photo I'm guessing you are in a similar location). Check the skimmers and tend to the Polaris or in your case get out the leaf rake -- every other day, notice the filter basket and water level and deal with them as needed. Test daily until you have water chemistry correct and under control then you may do every other day or less in winter.
    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.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: New Pool Owner

    We own it now...cleaned leaves out of skimmers and pool. Looked through the manuals left behind to figure out the details of the pool -- see update to signature below. Didn't have any bleach with me tonight so none added. Owner left behind a small bottle of test strips:

    pH 6.8
    FC <0.5
    TA 40
    Stabilizer 0

    TF100 is still in NC with Fedex. Owner left behind about 12 packages of "In The Swim" Pool Shock w/68% Calcium Hypochlorite, some acid, some Phos product, algaecide, some tablets it looks like, a leaf net and a brush with a blue whale tail. I need to brush the sides since it is getting a little dirty.
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Congratulations on the pool, and the twins!

    Lots of twins on the board! We have a set of identical little girls and a a couple little boys: 4yr and 1yr. Owned our pool for 1yr. Good thinking on the fence. We've not put in a fence, but keep the door to the backyard locked, with a lock @ the top of the door the kiddoes can't reach. May look into some sort of pool alarm as well.

    Given the numbers you posted, I'd suggest throw in a jug or 2 of bleach, and keep the pool brushed. The pH (asusming strip is trustworthy) is a bit low, the bleach will make sure nothing grows in there & bump the pH a bit.

    Enjoy! this forum is great. I've utilized it quite a lot over the past year.
    33k Gunite, CompuPool CPSC48 SWG, Sta-Rite System 3 DE, 2.25hp dual-speed, POOLVERGNUEGEN Pressure-side

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: New Pool Owner

    OK, first, add 1/2 bag of "pool shock" and brush the pool really well. Retest FC in a few hours and use some portion of the rest to get FC up to 3.0 -- use the Pool Calculator and assume some volume for now.

    Next step is to find the local pool stores and get them to do a more complete water test for you. Collect a sample from 18" below the surface after the pool filter has been on at least an hour. Take it promptly to be tested, waiting an hour will affect readings. Bring some well water also.

    I'll guess that the pool was maintained by the "common" method of tabs all week and a cal-hypo shock on the weekend. So CYA (stabilizer) = 0 is suspect.... unless the pool was recently emptied and refilled. Possible, as that "common" method of chlorination eventually leads to an out of control pool in most cases and dump and refill is the easy way to fix it. Especially if you are trying to sell the house!

    So, go to the pool store and let them test. Expect that if they find stabilizer is indeed 0 then you WILL need stabilizer. So, my advice is to shop for that by phone now, so you don't overpay. There are a few ways to get stabilizer, read Pool School for the details. The way we prefer to do it around TFP is to buy separate chemicals and add only what is needed, when it is needed. So that means buying 100% CYA; dry powder is cheaper, liquid costs more but is easier. Dichlor is a powder that contains both CYA and chlorine and if you do the math you can use that, it may cost more or less, and you may still need the separate ingredients to get chemicals just right fast.

    Next, pH is low, 6.8 is usually the lowest the strip reads so it could be way lower than that and you'd not know. You will need to address that right away to bring it up to at least 7.2. You will use the Pool Calculator to figure out what to add and how much. Best advice is to calculate what you need and use only half, then retest and see where you got to. That will actually help you narrow down the volume of the pool, so keep very good notes. Note that TA is low, so again, the Pool Calculator is your best friend now.

    If TA is indeed 46 oz of washing soda or soda ash and this will boost pH as well (assuming volume 23K)-- I am not sure where this is bought, try Walmart first. Again, you will need to adjust in steps, as we do not trust the strips or the pool store tests for that matter. Wait until the TF100 kit is in to fine tune this. Notice at the bottom of the Pool Calculator the section on Effects of Adding Chemicals.

    Now about that FC, with CYA = 0, FC will be zero really fast, daily. You need to add enough chlorine, now, daily to get the FC back up to 3.0, even before you test the water at the pool store. Problem is, CYA= 0 on a strip may mean that CYA = 30 or CYA = 0, which is why we hate strips. Adding a big jug of 6% Clorox or a half bag of "pool shock" and brushing it in would be a good idea. If CH is low you could use 1/2 bag of the "pool shock" but if CH is above 350 you don't want to do that but 1/2 bag wont' change anything by much so do it for today.

    So add the shock and brush the pool, circulate awhile and take a sample for testing at a pool store. Load the floater with tablets and try to identify exactly what they are for us, usually trichlor, some are different and of various weights, 3" pucks are usually trichlor.

    So, your shopping list at this point seems to include a few big jugs of Clorox, 6% unscented, 50 oz or more of washing soda or soda ash, dry stabilizer -- or liquid if you don't mind the $, a leaf rake (hard lip is better IMO). And I think you will have the luxury of using tablets for awhile, get some for the floater. [edit] Was that a leaf skimmer that you have or a leaf rake?
    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.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Acroy...that's scary and likewise I know I'm not the only crazy one....boy/girl twins (9) and then two singleton daughters (ages 6&3). I'm already prepping the 9 year old guy to keep an eye on my ladies

    Wetbehind Congrats on the home purchase Hopefully you will have the kit soon, but as acroy mentioned FC, PH and TA are on the low side. FC actually not so much if CYA is really zero. You'll want to raise PH to at least 7.2 with Borax and or washing soda.

    My suggested plan of action, until you can post a full set of results is to add a gallon of 6% bleach and one box of 20 mule team borax and let the filter run. The bleach will raise your FC by 2-3 ppm and the borax will raise PH and TA slightly.

    If your TA and PH are really that low, you will likely require at least 2 addt'l boxes of borax, but we can fine tune when we get the TF100 results. I'd normally advise you to use that calhypo you have on hand, but without a CH measurement, don't want to see you adding CH in case it is already high, but if getting the bleach will take a while...feel free to use the powdered cal hypo on hand to chlorinate.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: New Pool Owner

    Thanks everyone. I went by the house at lunch and put in 3qt of bleach and a box of the mule. I used the brush a little and struggled with the Polaris...both seemed to kick up a trail behind them even though the pool looks pretty clean. It is like a puff of brownish dirt. There is an oak tree near the pool that is the source of leaves and nuts. Not too bad but enough to need attention. I'll check with the strips again tonight and add the second bottle of bleach I have. What is the whale part of the whale brush for? Seems like there are spots in the curve of the steps that the brush won't reach...I hope I don't get cavities.
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: New Pool Owner

    The puff of brownish dirt may be dead algae. That cloudy look you mentioned before was the start of an algae breakout, based on the low FC you measured. The bleach has taken most of that down to the floor. It may be too fine for the Polaris to pick up. You may need to vacuum if it is very thick, generally the whipping action of the Polaris tail will help get it up into the water where the filter will get it eventually. Be sure there is a sponge on the tail and that the wear rings are looking OK. Examine the manual. Parts can be much better priced online, I like PoolProducts4Less and get Polaris tail scrubbers and tires to keep in reserve as well as skimmer socks there.

    Keep that oak tree trimmed up as far as you can tolerate to reduce the leaves in the pool. Best to operate when the patient is asleep, so trim well in Jan or Feb, the mess is less and the weight of wood is too. Very important to trim only branch and not trunk wood, examine the joint and you will be able to tell the difference. Yes, it leaves a bit of a stub but it heals faster and without weeping.

    Again it is OK to use the "pool shock" when you need to, each bag adds about 3 to your CH, insignificant to your testing. Unless your well has high CH, you are probably fine or even low there. Pool store test will help with that. If CH is low in pool and low in well water then you will be adding CH over time and thus if cal-hypo is cheaper than bleach you will want to get the big 100# bucket. Do the math to see, start with data from bottom of the Pool Calculator. For me, cal-hypo is slightly cheaper and since it keeps well in high heat of summer and over a long time, compared to bleach, I use it when I can. For me that is in the rainy season, winter and spring. If your pool was recently refilled which I suspect based on CYA = 0, it may have CH near to well water. You want it to be between 250 and 350 in general. You can add calcium but it can be pricey. If there is no emergency from super low CH, and cal-hypo is reasonable compared to bleach, then you get the calcium for nearly free using cal-hypo for your chlorine for now. The pre-measured bags are terribly expensive, 100# bucket at Leslie's is less.

    The tail of the Whale gives you downward thrust to keep the brush on the surface without that effort from you. The tail has 3 adjustment settings for weaker or stronger thrust. Does a heck of a job mixing cal-hypo -- I now just pour into the shallow end and brush towards the deep to mix. My extension pole tends to slip sometimes and this lets me use it shortened. As for the steps, you may want to pick up a smaller ordinary brush to fit that area, they have round pointed ones for those corners. Maybe a short extension pole also, but don't overspend now, you got enough to do with the house and babies. Since new algae can regrow under killed algae you have to remove the dead algae on top to open the lower levels to fresh chlorine. Get it circulating and the filter can remove it. If it falls to the floor when the water is still you can use a vacuum to remove it, whatever seems more effective.
    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.

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: New Pool Owner

    I was frustrated this evening when I went over to the house. Those strips are just plain worthless. It may have been the light but none of the tests really matched the scale or made sense. I think I'm just going to have to wait till the test kit comes in to do anything meaningful. I ran the Polaris, back washed the filter and cleaned out any concentrations leaves and acorns. I leave on business tomorrow afternoon so I will just try and get the chlorine up before I leave.
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: New Pool Owner

    Test kit came and I was able to get 'some' first readings yesterday. This will take a little practice. It was pretty cold and getting dark.

    CH .5
    pH 8.2
    FC .5 (1 drop)
    CC (messed this test up...I'll have to do redo)
    TA 60 (6 drops - but started trying to change at 4)
    CH 50+drops and no change
    CYA I'll have to try again in better light...(Why didn't the instructions tell you the red tip bottle did not have a hole in the end?)

    Also, Guardian child fence is up. Really looks good. I'll post pics when I get a spare moment to slow down from the move.

    Thanks.
    (Tulsa, OK; 24K-30K Gallons; Triton Sand Filter; IG Plaster; Hayward Super II Pump ?Flow Rate?; Polaris 380 & Booster Pump (2003); Well Water (acidic but no metals & normal CH); Teledyne Laars XE Pool & Spa Heater (Natural Gas - Not Operational))

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: New Pool Owner

    Make it easy on yourself. Grab a water sample and head into the house for testing. I count out loud so everyone knows that is WHY I am not answering when they yell for me. The laundry room works well for me so I can use the sink, though the flourescent light isnot the best for the CYA test, in sunlight I get higher readings so I just keep that in mind.

    Don't do the CYA test too often, you will run out of reagents; once a month should be enough unless you are working to change that. With that test, pour the mix back into the bottle mixing bottle and do the readings again until you are satisfied, then let the spouse try for verification.

    If CH is over 500 then no more Cal-Hypo for you! You need to watch the pH and the CSI values, may be getting scale started. Need to check well water to see if source water is also high CH. For chlorine choose between bleach or if CYA is low, dichlor granules and/or trichlor tablets. You may still need more CYA in pure form if it is really low.
    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.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: New Pool Owner

    Your pH seems pretty acidic, but thats easy to fix with some chlorine. How did you mess the test up? I recently bought a test kit and I haven't been able to get that test out in my favor. Apparently my CC is too low and now I have to dump my pool with chlorine again. It just seems like my pool won't stop sucking in the chlorine. It seems like all the chlorine I put in just evaporates.

    This pool is a large pool close to 37,000 gallons
    It is In-ground
    and my pH is same as yours, 8.2
    it has vinyl siding

    I just wish I didn't have to keep dumping so much chlorine into my family's pool. It also costs an arm and a leg to keep this pool running and it would be a shame to have to close it down.

    Is there a chemical that can make the chlorine stronger and last longer?

    -Thanks everyone for your help
    16'X32' IG VINYL LINER
    PENTAIR TAGELUS SAND FILTER
    IC40-PENTAIR CHLORINE GENERATOR
    PENTAIR CHALLENGER 1.5HP PUMP
    FREEZE SENTRY MODEL PF1102T

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovin'TheSun
    Your pH seems pretty acidic, but thats easy to fix with some chlorine. How did you mess the test up? I recently bought a test kit and I haven't been able to get that test out in my favor. Apparently my CC is too low and now I have to dump my pool with chlorine again. It just seems like my pool won't stop sucking in the chlorine. It seems like all the chlorine I put in just evaporates.

    This pool is a large pool close to 37,000 gallons
    It is In-ground
    and my pH is same as yours, 8.2
    it has vinyl siding

    I just wish I didn't have to keep dumping so much chlorine into my family's pool. It also costs an arm and a leg to keep this pool running and it would be a shame to have to close it down.

    Is there a chemical that can make the chlorine stronger and last longer?

    -Thanks everyone for your help
    There's so much wrong with this post that I don't really know where to begin. So I'll just begin by saying you really need to read Pool School several times. Just for instance, liquid chlorine doesn't affect pH enough to matter.
    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

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovin'TheSun
    Your pH seems pretty acidic, but thats easy to fix with some chlorine.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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