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Thread: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

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    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Queen Creek, Arizona
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    Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Hello,

    This will be a long post but I hope someone will be able to help me

    Small pool only about 5900 gallons inground and it is pebble tech. There is a Tritton II sand filter on it with a Whisperflow filter.

    Pool history:
    My pool has not been maintained since last summer. There was algae (I think) in the pool and not the bright green kind it was more of a brown with black around the water line. The water was actually pretty clear, as I could see to the bottom, but all the walls and bottom were covered with a thick film of something (which I assume was algae). I started buying shock last week and it turned the sludge stuff grey/white and I was able to scrub the black along the water line with a metal brush.
    I have been brushing all the walls of the pool and the stuff is not coming off easily and it's coming off in what almost looks like paper that has hit the water and is shredding up (can't think of any other way to describe it). In addition the walls feel very rough now like coarse sandpaper. As of right now the pool water is so cloudy I can't even see to the bottom of the 3 feet section.

    Now for the bad part...

    I do not have a nice testing kit yet and I have the 6 in one strips by pool time. I input all the results into their website and it told me to add all this stuff to my pool... and I did before I found this forum and I think I really screwed it up. My test results this morning are as follows:

    Total Hardness: 1000 ppm (the highest color so it could be more)
    Total Chlorine: 3ppm
    Free Chlorine: 10ppm (Highest it goes could be higher)
    ph: 7.8 - 8.4 (color was between these two)
    Total Alkalinity: 180ppm (Highest Color so it could be more)
    Stabilizer: 0-50 (color was between these two)

    I know all these numbers are bad and I have been reading the forums and not quite sure what to do with this. I won't be able to get the nice testing kit for a few more days.

    And for more bad... (I said there was multiple problems lol)

    I don't think the pressure gauge on my filter is working... It is always on 10 even if the pump is turned off. I have back washed a few times and the water that is coming out doesn't look bad.

    I also do not have the option to vacuum to waste on my pool and all the sludge stuff is going to the bottom and I have been using the leaf rake thing to get what I can out. I have a barracuda g4 that plugs into a suction valve on the wall of my pool. Will this get the sludge out? Right now I have turned the valve that says "Jandy" on it so the water in the pool is just going through the skimmer and the barracuda vacuum is not running at all.

    And this leads me to my last question... I have 3 valves in my pump area... The Jandy one, the back wash one and then there is another and I have no clue as to what it's for. It just says "Closed<" and "Open>" and it is set in the middle between the off and on. The old owners left no information on this pool and I am completely clueless. In the pictures the blue valve is what I'm confused about.

    Thank you in advance for any help any one can give me because I really have no idea what I'm doing.

    Rectangle 5900 gallon 11ft X18ft
    Pebble Tech Surface
    Tritton II Sand Filter
    Whisperflow WFE-3 3/4 Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Welcome to TFP!

    You are making good progress. A pool that has been ignored for a while takes some time to get going again. Keep at it and things will get better.

    What kind of "shock" are you using? There are a couple of different chemicals sold as "shock", which contain various extra things you may or may not want to be adding to the pool. One of the best sources of chlorine is regular household bleach, unscented and no special "features", because it doesn't add anything you don't want to the water.

    Regular vacuuming, even if you can't see what you are doing, followed by backwashing, would help. The more sludge there is on the bottom the more difficult it is going to be to clear everything up.

    If your test strips are right, which is not at all certain, then you are at risk for calcium scaling. Ideally you want to lower the PH down to around 7.2. However, the PH reading is not reliable when the FC level is high. In fact many brands of test strips have problems when the FC level is very high. If you don't add any chlorine until evening, the FC level should come down enough to get a more reliable PH reading (and everything else).
    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: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Jason,

    Thank you for replying. The shock that I was using was an HTH Super shock that I had bought from Wal-mart... since that time I have added 3 gallons of 6% Bleach (non scented) I put the first gallon in last night and the other 2 this morning.

    Since my last post my lvls per my 6 in one strips are:
    Total Hardness 250
    Total Chlorine 1
    Free Chlorine 3
    Ph 6.8
    Total Alkalinity 180
    stabilizer 0

    I also have noticed that my barracuda stops moving after 15 minutes or so and I backwash and it will work for a bit then stop again. I also noticed when I moved the valve to make more flow through the skimmer my jets pushed out a lot of the sludge stuff.... when I backwash I'm not seeing any of that sludge come out in that water.
    Rectangle 5900 gallon 11ft X18ft
    Pebble Tech Surface
    Tritton II Sand Filter
    Whisperflow WFE-3 3/4 Pump

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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Hey,

    Welcome to the forum Good job switching to bleach. I'm pretty sure that HTH Super Shock is Cal Hypo which will add more Calcium to your pool and you already have all you want....especially in AZ.

    I think your barracuda is simply responding to the lack of flow because you are filtering a lot of junk out of the pool. Keep putting the chlorine in there (you need quite a bit more) and the barracuda will likely start running in longer and longer cycles as you clean the pool.

    Do you have a pressure guage on the filter? Do you see the pressure rise to let you know when to backwash?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Duraleigh,

    Thank you for responding... I do have a pressure meter on my filter but since it says 10ppm when it's on and off I assume it is broken. I had someone tell me (not from here) that if the barracuda stops moving to backwash. I'm gonna go out and add a few more bottles of bleach and switch the flow back to the barracuda and just watch it
    Rectangle 5900 gallon 11ft X18ft
    Pebble Tech Surface
    Tritton II Sand Filter
    Whisperflow WFE-3 3/4 Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    You need to bring the PH up to at least 7.2. Remember that the PH test only works while FC is below 10. If the test strip is right there are several other things you should do, but I don't believe it enough to actually recommend trusting it.
    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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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Hi, welcome to TFP! Those results are wildly different from each other! Is it from the same box of strips? What you may want to do is pick up a HTH 6 way drop based kit at Walmart until you are able to order a TF 100 or a Taylor K2006. That way you can have some reliable results to start with. You will still need the TF100 or K2006 to test higher levels of chlorine to clear the pool. The HTH kit only tests up to 5 ppm of chlorine and you will need much higher levels to properly treat the water, but the results are better than test strips.

    You can get a new pressure gauge at any pool or hardware store. They just screw in and should cost less than $20. Next time the Baracuda stops, put your hand in front of the return and see if the flow is reduced. If you are picking up a lot of sludge you may need to backwash more often, but if the return flow is strong check the baracuda for blockages. Once you replace the gauge you will be able to tell when you really need to backwash.
    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: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    Wow!

    Thank you all so much for your help!

    Ok on the safe side I put a little bit of arm & hammer in the pool to try and raise the PH I also turned on the aerator ( which isn't spurting out as much water as I think it should).

    I will try to get to a pool place tomorrow if I can find one open to buy the nice kit. I did check my suction on the barracuda and it was rather strong.

    I am so thankful for the help you all have given me.. teaches me a lesson to either get a pool guy or do some research before divorcing the person in charge of the pool lol.
    Rectangle 5900 gallon 11ft X18ft
    Pebble Tech Surface
    Tritton II Sand Filter
    Whisperflow WFE-3 3/4 Pump

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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    I'm not sure I'd be making too many adjustments based on your strips.

    One day FC is 10, the next 1, Calcium is 1000 and then 250, PH is 8 and then 6.8

    Those are REALLY big differences that can only be explained by testing error of the strips.

    You'll struggle to find a good test kit at the store. If you go to a pool store make sure it has a FAS-DPD chlorine test. Accept no substitutions! tftestkits.net carries the TF100 which is going to be the best value for money you get on a full range test kit.

    HTH super shock is indeed Calcium Hypo - which will only make your calcium issues worse. We have very hard water out west (high in calcium) so you almost never want to use Cal Hypo.

    If your pool really is all sluggy and gross - take a break. Order a test kit, spend some time studying up in the pool school, stock up on chlorine and then when you've got all your weapons ready - attack the pool.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Pool is trashed-Multiple problems-Newbie

    I hope I'm not too late with this. Leslies is the only place that has the recommended test kit and most of the stores don't stock it but what they stock is a lesser kit and the problem is that they will tell you that it's the same kit BUT it isn't. Ask if it has FAS-DPD chlorine test. If it has just DPD it's not the same. It has to be FAS-DPD.

    I seem to be following Lightingguy again but his advice is good.
    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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