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Thread: New pool owner

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Temecula, CA
    Posts
    122

    New pool owner

    Hi all,

    Hopefully my info will show on my signature after I am finished with my post. We moved into a house with a pool in early Sept. I grew up with a pool but my dad did most of the maintenance. Although he has been helping me, he is unfamiliar with DE filters (although he is great at researching and has helped me a lot) and as well, isn't as "fresh" on what to do as he used to be.

    I know how to test but the test kit I have is so hard to read! Are they all like that? I bought some test strips today from Leslie's (I have one around the corner) hoping they would work better but now I see that you recommend another type. The one you recommend on this site - are they easier to read? Trying to tell the difference between colors on the PH and chlorine test is tough!

    Anyhow, I tested my pool water today and the chlorine was low and the PH was a little high(?) on my test. To verify (and because I knew I would be posting here), I took a sample to Leslie's and had them test. This is what they have:

    FC .5
    TC .5
    PH 7.8
    TA 80
    CYA 50
    Phosphates 200

    I feel good that I was reading my test correctly. I added liquid chlorine and muriatic acid at the suggestion of the person at Leslie's. I had it at home. I am planning on getting tablets and the floating dispenser (wondering if this is a good idea as I have a solar cover on the pool) - any recommendations? It seems that the chlorine goes fast and I'm always having to add it. How often is normal to be adding chlorine? I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to extend the chlorine?

    One thing my dad and I noticed is some spots of black algae in various places in the pool. The Leslie's sales person recommended their black algae cleaner, which I bought but haven't used yet. I want to be home to do the scrubbing and I have to go out of town tomorrow so will do it last next week. Is using the black algae cleaner all I have to do and it will work or is there more involved than that? How often do I have to use the cleaner to keep the algae away? It's my understanding that this is like mold and will come back if untreated.

    Do you all recommend anything else to use or an online site to buy chlorine etc?

    I feel a little overwhelmed by this but I know it's just because I don't know what to do... Don't even get me started on the DE filter.... as the pressure is still good, i know that I don't need to clean it yet.

    Also, wondering about winterizing our pool. Our pool doesn't have a heater so we won't be swimming this winter. Currently I am running the filter and sweeper about 4 hours a day but do I need to do anything as far as adding chemicals? I would say that it doesn't get colder than mid 30s here at night and days are warm so the water won't likely be freezing. Anyhow, any help with ANYthing would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much,
    Anne
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Richard320's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
    Posts
    18,768

    Re: New pool owner

    Don't use pucks for convenience. Save them for vacation or when you need to add CYA. They are not pure Chlorine - they have Calcium or Cyanuric acid as a carrier. The Chlorine will get used up - the Calcium or CYA will stay behind. And as the water evaporates, it will get even more concentrated. You will end up with CYA so high that you can't get enough Chlorine in there to keep the algae at bay, or calcium-caused scaling on the walls. Essentially, grow-your-own sandpaper on the walls and floor. Imagine getting road rash from brushing against the pool wall.

    Chlorine usage for a pool your size will probably be about 3 cups of 12.5% liquid chlorine per day. Could be more in full sun, could be less if its cold and grey. Or covered.

    A proper test kit is essential. I don't know what you have now, but if it came from Leslies it's probably a Taylor of some variety, and probably incomplete. The color-matching pH test is pretty much it. It is helpful to have a white background and good, natural light. I found that one of those white plastic stacking chairs on the other side of the table from where I test works well. Remember- we're working on a range, not precise to 3 decimal places. If it's pink, it's high, if it's orangish, it's low (highly unlikely here in CA), and if it's sorta peach colored you're okay. You will gain a feel for it after a few weeks. The FAS-DPD test kit for Chlorine doesn't require color matching - just: is it pink or is it clear?

    Just keep reading Pool School. Order a decent test kit. I recommend the TF100. And a speedstir. We tend to have real high Calcium here, so it takes a loooong time to run the CH test. Speedstir makes it bearable.

    Shop around, compare prices and strengths on bleach/pool chlorine and muriatic acid. It might be cheaper at Walmart or Target, some independant pool store, Lowes, Home Depot, or possibly even Leslies. You won't know til you do the math. Don't buy anything at Leslies except liquid chlorine and muriatic acid, and maybe diatomaceous earth without checking here first. They're salesmen primarily, and will get you on a merry-go-round of snake oils otherwise.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Guest

    Re: New pool owner

    First, welcome to the 'page!

    Second, quit going to Leslie's! Take a look at the top right of this page and go to Pool School. You will learn all that you need to take care of your pool and how easy it really is. Don't be overwhelmed; there are lots of good folks here that will get you any answer you may need.

    Third, do not use test strips! Get a good test kit and learn to use it. It is money well spent and will pay for itself many times over. There is no way you can take control of your pool without one.

    Fourth, do not get a floater and do not use tablets! Pool School will explain more; I just gave you the Readers Digest edition!

    Fifth, get some good chlorine (you may be able to get the 12.5% stuff at Leslies-oops, I told you not to go there! OK, you can go for good chlorine) and use that. Pool school will tell you how much.

    Sixth, keep brushing on the black algae and keep your water balanced. It will go away, but it will take quite a while. Try not to let it come back

    Last, (I think) you don't need to worry about closing. I'm just down the road from you and we don't get anywhere near cold enough for you to worry about that.

    Stick around here and you'll learn a lot!

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest

    Re: New pool owner

    Wow, Richard and I must have been typing at the same page and tied in cosmically; we posted nearly the same thing! Spooky!

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Temecula, CA
    Posts
    122

    Re: New pool owner

    Thanks guys, for your input. I will be bringing back my test strips and purchasing the Tf-100. Pricey but apparently worth it!

    I browsed Pool School last night and got a lot of good information but didn't see anything specifically about black algae. Should I be returning the black algae killer I got at Leslie's and look for something different, do you think?

    Thanks again.
    Anne
    Temecula, CA
    16X32 (approx) 20k gal, DE filter, IG, plaster/pebble with diving board & slide
    Whisperflo pump; Pentair SMBW 4000 Series filter... that's all I know! Still learning....

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Richard320's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
    Posts
    18,768

    Re: New pool owner

    Quote Originally Posted by grrltraveler
    Thanks guys, for your input. I will be bringing back my test strips and purchasing the Tf-100. Pricey but apparently worth it!

    I browsed Pool School last night and got a lot of good information but didn't see anything specifically about black algae. Should I be returning the black algae killer I got at Leslie's and look for something different, do you think?

    Thanks again.
    Anne
    Yes.

    I hunted down the MSDS for Leslie's Black Algae killer. It says its a Copper Alkanolamine Complex. I don't know what that is exactly, but I wouldn't put metals in my pool. I've read too many horror stories here about stains, sequestrants, etc etc etc. Chlorine, lots of it, and brushing with a wire brush ought to kill it off. A TF100 or a Taylor K2006 will have the FAS-DPD test you need to measure chlorine high enough to kill it off. Once it's gone, maintaining FC according to your stabilizer level will keep it away.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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