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Thread: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

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    new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Hi all. I recently bought a foreclosure that came with a pool that was left uncovered and not maintained since last pool season (at least). Needless to say, the pool is a swamp. I have been reading a lot on this site, and I have read everything in pool school, the article about turning your swamp back into a sparkling oasis, and various other posts about other people's foreclosed swamps. I have also bought a TF100 test kit, and tested my water. Below are my results:

    FC:0
    pH: 10.2 (tested with included kit and it was off the scale so I then tested with a digital pH electrode)
    CYA: 0? I filtered through coffee filter and then filled the tube all the way to the top and could still see the black dot
    TA: 60
    CH: 100

    I have raked as many leaves and junk out of the bottom of the pool as I could, and I have also brushed the pool once. I started the filter up for the first time this past weekend. One thing I did notice was the pressure never did rise like I have read it will. I started the filter up by backwashing first to make sure it was clean and get a baseline pressure reading, which was 25. I ran the filter for about 3 hours, and the pressure never rose, so I decided to try backwashing to see what came out. The water did appear to be dirty, but like I said, the pressure never rose. I continued to filter the rest of the weekend, and backwashed periodically, and then the next day, the pressure started at 25, and dropped to 20 while filtering. One thing I have noticed are 2 of my 4 returns are "spitting" air bubbles back into the pool. Is this because of an air leak somewhere, and be the cause of why the pressure never rose?


    Anyways, I know I need to bring the pool up to shock level with bleach and maintain it there, and run the filter 24/7. My questions are, I took a sample to the pool store, and they told me I am wasting my time with bleach, because it will take twice as long to clean and cost a lot more. They also told me I need to buy Lo-n-Slo and algaecide, and told me theres no point in adding stabilizer until I get it clean, since I will be backwashing so much. So my questions are:

    is my CYA level really 0? if not, how do i get a more accurate reading?
    i DO need to add stabilizer before bringing up to shock level correct?
    is bleach going to most likely be my best and cheapest chlorine source? 96 oz of 6% is $1.25-$1.50 here
    is Lo-n-Slo ok to add to bring down the pH to 7.2?
    Do I only need to get the pH and CYA level adjusted before shocking?
    Why does the pressure in my filter not rise?
    why do the returns spit air?


    Thanks in advance for any help and any other advice is appreciated.
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Yes, your CYA level really is zero.
    Adding some CYA will make shocking much easier. Without CYA you will lose chlorine to sunlight very rapidly. You can avoid the backwash problem by adding CYA in a sock hung in front of a return jet.
    Bleach is usually the least expensive if you do some shopping around. But sometimes you can find better deals.
    You appear to need to make a huge PH shift. Muriatic acid is by far the best way to do that. Lo-n-Slo will work, it will just cost significantly more.
    You may need to adjust TA up after bringing the PH down. You want TA at least at 50. By the time PH comes down TA will probably be well below 50.
    There are lots of possibilities with the filter pressure. The gauge might be broken, the filter might not be filtering correctly, the main valve might be allowing water to bypass the filter.
    Did you bleed all the air out of the filter? If not that might be the source of the air. There are several other possibilities, water too low in the skimmer, suction side air leak, pump strainer basket lid not on properly, etc.
    Algaecide isn't going to help much. Algaecide is simply not effective when there is a full algae bloom in progress.
    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Thanks for replying jason. I was hoping you would respond. We did not bleed the air out of the filter, how do you do that? I read on the front of the filter for initial startup, set it to backwash, and let it backwash for 2 minutes to remove any trash or particles inside, then switch it to rinse for 30 seconds, and then you could switch it to filter, so this is what I did. I read somewhere else also that a strected o-ring on the pumps skimmer tank lid could let air in? I can get the lid to sit and twist on tightly with the o-ring in place, but you have to push the o-ring in certain places, because it starts to bulge when you sit 1 side of the lid down in place.
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Hi, Welcome to TFP! It sounds like you need a new o-ring for the pump strainer lid. By the way, the Dynamo is an above ground pool pump. Does the pump basket stay full of water when the pump is off? If the pump is losing prime when off that could be another source of air in the system.
    TFP Moderator
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    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    There is almost always an air bleed valve on the top, or very near the top, of the filter. This would be a small valve, often next to the pressure gauge. The pump can't fill the filter with water, so it will not filter correctly, until you let the air out. If you can't find it, you can either tell us what model of filter you have or post a picture of your filter and we can point the valve out to you.
    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    yes, I havent played with it much, and I work out of town so I cant check again until Thursday night, but I think the pump stays primed and full of water if you turn the pump off. However, it does lose prime when you turn the filter to a different setting (backwash, rinse, etc.).

    And Jason, my filter is a Hayward pro series high rate sand filter s220t. I have found the manual online, and it does not say anything about an air bleed valve. I know you should backwash the filter whenever it rises by 6-8 psi, but how often should this occur with swampy conditions like mine? Because like I said, I ran the filter for 2-3 hours at a time, and it never even went up 1 psi, and one time, it actually dropped by 5 psi. Not sure if I have a clog somewhere in the plumbing, because it is so hard to see anything with the green water. Could the main drain have sucked a bunch of leaves or debris up to it and around the skimmer that caps the main drain on the bottom of the pool that would have made the pressure drop?

    Do I need to figure out the pressure issue and the air leak issue before shocking the pool? Or can I go ahead and try to clear up the water, so then I can at least see what I am doing when trying to figure out the plumbing issues? That is my real question, I guess.
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Leaves and debris choking the main drain is a possibility if you have alot of gunk in the water. Use a large leaf net and sweep around the drain and see it you can pull anything up. Another way to check if you are losing pressure is to feel the water as it comes out of the return. You should have a strong flow after a backwash. Check the flow with your hand periodically while the pump is running. If the flow starts to weaken you may need to backwash again. If you backwash well and it is still weak, check for lose of prime and blockages. If the pressure gauge does not accurately reflect the change of pressure in the pool then you will need to replace the gauge. They are inexpensive and are available at hardware and pool stores.
    TFP Moderator
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    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    The Hayward filters with top mount mutli-position valves have automatic air relief vales, so that isn't an issue for you.
    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    ok, I think I may have solved the air leak and pressure problem with 1 fix. I replaced the o-ring on the skimmer pot lid of the pump, and suddenly, the air bubbles stopped, and the pressure was back at 25. Over about the course of an hour, the pressure rose to 30, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the o-ring solved both my air and pressure problem, and that theres not an underlying major plumbing or equipment problem.


    I also added 1 gallon of muriatic acid, diluted in 5 gallons of water, to lower the pH, and am also floating 6 lbs of cya in a pantyhose in front of a return. I wont be able to test until Thursday night because I work out of town, but I will post results as soon as I get them. Anything else I should do be doing in order to get the pool ready for shocking and cleaning up the mess?

    By the way, thanks so much for the input and advice already given!
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    It sounds like you have everything covered.
    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    ive noticed that there are some discrepancies of shock level between the pool calculator (using the suggested goal level of TFP) and the chlorine/cya chart. for example, if cya is 40, the pool calc says shock level is 15 where the chart says its 16. ok, doesnt seem like a major difference. but when you go up to a cya of 50, the pool calc says shock level is 16, where the chart says 20.

    Whenn shocking my swamp, which goal level should I follow to reach shock level and maintain it there, the pool calc's or the chart's?
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Either one is fine. The exact number is not too critical.

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    I started shocking my pool Thursday night. I brought the FC level initially up to 18, and within a few hours, the green had already started to fade to a lighter shade. I kept it at 18 until Friday afternoon, when I noticed I had seen no more progress in the shade of green of the water, so then I raised it up to 24, based on the CYA/FC chart. I noticed Saturday morning another slight change in the shade to a more of a milky green, but needless to say, it is still green. I have been backwashing as needed, brushing, and I have vacuumed once. I have been shocking for 3 days now. How much longer will it take to kill everything and the rest of the green finally go away, and everything turn milky?

    I can go around an average of 4 hours, sometimes longer, with the FC level only falling from 24 to 21. Should I be monitoring this more closely, or in shorter time lengths?

    FC: last test was 21, so I added 1.5 96 oz jugs of bleach
    CC: 7 (tested a day or so ago)
    CYA: 60
    TA: was raised from 20 to 60 before shocking
    pH: 7.2 (before shocking)
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    The longer you can keep the FC at shock level the quicker it will go. Right now you have very high CC so you need to keep shocking, keep the pump running 24/7 and backwash as needed. You may have a day or two more of green ahead of you, every pool is different. Once it does change, the process should start to speed up.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    I havent noticed a difference in the color or any progess in the pool water since yesterday morning. the water is still a milky green color. currently, im keeping the FC level at 24, because my CYA level (i think) is 60. the lines for 60 and 70 on the CYA tube are close together, so it was hard to say i couldnt see the black dot anymore at 70, so i added more water, and then definitely couldnt see it at 60.

    should i add more chlorine to bring it up to 28 (shock level for CYA level of 70)?
    also, i read somewhere that you have to bring the FC up to 10x higher than the CC level to get rid of CC.......my last CC test was 7 ppm. am i going to have to raise the FC level to 70? that seems dangerous for my liner and equipment.
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Don't bring the FC level up much higher than shock level. A little over is fine, but not a huge amount over. That whole 10x things is just wrong. The CC will break down at normal shock level given some time and sunlight.

    How is your filter pressure doing? Have you needed to backwash/clean the filter recently?
    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    i backwashed once yesterday given normal filtering. i also vacuumed again yesterday, which resulted in me having to backwash again. so should i raise it up to 28, since i am not sure if my CYA is at 60 or 70?
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    Yes, raising FC to 28 is a good idea.
    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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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    I rasied my FC level to 30, and have kept it there as consistently as possible for nearly 3 weeks now. The water is very milky, and looks to be a turqoise color, which I think is due to the color of the liner. However, the water does not seem to be clearing up. I have left the filter running 24/7 for almost 3 weeks now, and it is still very milky. I can leave the filter running for days on end without the pressure ever rising, so I started to add small amounts of DE to the filter to help with the filtering. It only takes 1/2 cup of DE for my filter pressure to go up by 1 psi, and then within about 5 hours, the pressure has risen by about 5 psi, so I then backwash and add more DE.

    The FC holds pretty steady overnight (I havent done the overnight FC test yet becsause i still have CC), but I lose a lot of chlorine during the day when I am at work. The pool receives a lot of direct sunlight, pretty much all day, and I can lose as much as 8-9 ppm from morning to afternoon some days. Is this a problem?

    FC: being kept at 30 ppm
    CC: 2 ppm (last tested a week ago)

    My questions are:

    1) Is it a problem that I lose that much FC from monring to afternoon some days?

    2) When can I stop maintaining the FC at 30 ppm, because I probably have added over 100 gallons of bleach since the start, and its getting expensive? I know I need to pass the overnight FC test, but does the CC level ALSO need to be 0, or is it either/or?

    3) Can I floc the pool to speed up the clearing process? If so, what chemical balances (pH?) do I need to adjust before floc-ing?
    25,000 gal in-ground pool (vinyl liner), Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter Model #: S-220T, Pentair Dynamo Pump

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    Re: new pool owner with a foreclosure swamp

    If you still have CC, then you're not done yet... basically, you're winning, but there's some last agae or something else "hiding out" and using your Cl...
    If you had a lot of organics in the pool, (dead algae), or other sources of ammonia/nitrogen (algaecides or other chemicals), then they'll also use up your Cl...
    When you have no CC and your Cl doesn't drop >1 overnight, then you can reduce you Cl levels- til then, stopping will potentially just let the algae get a new grip and you'll have to start over.
    The filter building up pressure indicates it's clearing the pool, there's just a lot of stuff in the pool to get rid of...
    Sunlight also deteriates your Cl, so drops during the day are normal (that's why we use CYA, to limit how much is lost to sun/environment instead of sanitizing/oxidizing...)
    I personally almost never floc, but if you do follow the instructions for the floc regarding pH... would recommend probably clarifier vice floc- clarifier works with your filter, floc ends up on the bottom to vacuum up later and can get re-distributed in water if not careful...
    Also, don't use multiple doses of clarifier, or floc! either can build up and cause new problems!
    24ft x 52in AGP 18000 gal
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