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Thread: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

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    How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    I just took over doing the chemicals of my pool and I have business trips and vacations coming up. How do I prepare the pool ahead of time? In general, I understand the theory is to replinish the FC lost per day. The problem I have is translating that number to how much chemicals to use before I leave.

    I have seen suggestions to bring the pool to shock level prior to leaving. But how do I estimate how long that is good for? My understanding is that it's a percentage loss. So let's say normally I have my FC at 4 and next day at 3, which equals roughly 20% a day. So if I start at 12, I would go down to 9.6, 7.7, 6.2, 5, 4, etc? So the shock level should last me 5 days?

    Then let's say the shock level chlorine is insufficient to last the entire trip. I have seen suggestions to add trichlor. That's okay as my CYA is low enough (30 now) to take it. But how do I know how many tabs to put in, given that I will already bring the pool to shock level prior to leaving?

    Thanks!
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    My CYA is low enough that I can use tabs also. BUT, my pool is so large that in the heat of the summer even with 6 tabs floating it won't keep up with the Texas sun. And, I've found that asking others to come put in a bottle or two of bleach is not reliable. I'm installing my Liquidator tonight, for just this reason. We take a lot of trips, and I'm sick of coming home to a green pool, plus at some point the CYA will get to a level where I can't use tabs anymore.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Prav's Avatar
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Maybe 50 ppm borates will help as an algaestat. That way, less potential organics to consume CL.
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    The length of the trip is a big question point here, 3-5 days is one thing, a 2+ week trip is something else. If it is about a week, and your CYA level is not too high, load up a floater dispenser with trichlor tablets and close the water opening most of the way and let it go. If 3-4 days and if your CYA level is too high to use tri-chlor boost it up to shock level before you go, and check as soon as you get home. If over a week either get someone to come by and test and dose as needed or invest in an automated chlorine system / SWG etc. A lot of this can be guessed at with experience and the individual pool.

    Ike
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Quote Originally Posted by mynewpool
    When I have left on vacations and I am in texas, I took my average chlorine loss per day, multiplied that by the number of days I will be gone, add that to the min FC level and that is what I bump it up to. Drop pH down to 7.2 and go.
    That won't work reliably. Chlorine loss to sunlight is a percentage of the starting FC level, so you lose chlorine way more quickly when it starts high.

    In addition to Isaac-1's suggestions, an opaque solar cover helps a great deal.
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    This is easy,
    You just let your neighbor use, and care for your pool while you are gone. Works out great

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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Galun - can you add your pool specs to your signature - Go to User Control Panel, then Profile, then Edit Signature.

    I have gone on trips as long as 11 days. I shock, cover with the solar cover (black/blue) and leave filter running. My FC is always above the "min" by my return. I have also used tablets in a floater while pool is uncovered. 3 tablets in a floater lasted approximately 1-2 weeks in my size pool. YMMV.

    If you can't cover - go the tablet route. Make sure your TA is high enough to compensate for the acidic nature of the tablets so that the PH doesn't drop too low while you are gone.
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Just-a-PB
    This is easy,
    You just let your neighbor use, and care for your pool while you are gone. Works out great
    I've done that in the past with friends and family. They use the pool, then don't add chlorine like I asked. I would come home to a bunch of full chlorine bottles and dirty pool towels.
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Galun - can you add your pool specs to your signature - Go to User Control Panel, then Profile, then Edit Signature.

    I have gone on trips as long as 11 days. I shock, cover with the solar cover (black/blue) and leave filter running. My FC is always above the "min" by my return. I have also used tablets in a floater while pool is uncovered. 3 tablets in a floater lasted approximately 1-2 weeks in my size pool. YMMV.

    If you can't cover - go the tablet route. Make sure your TA is high enough to compensate for the acidic nature of the tablets so that the PH doesn't drop too low while you are gone.
    Thanks. Signature is updated.

    I don't have a solar cover yet, but I do have a black leaf cover. Does it serve the same function?

    Humm maybe I will shock the pool first with cal-hypo and then at the end of the week have someone come drop some tabs in. That should somewhat balance the pH. My CYA is actually somewhere between 20 and 30 (the black dot disappears between the two) and CH is at around 230, so the pool can take both if needed.
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    If you don't mind putting the leaf cover on, that's a good idea. It'll cut way down on your FC loss and keep the pool clean too. Just bump the FC to shock level right before you go off.

    How long are you planning on being gone?
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Here is a simple example, imagine that you are losing 2 ppm of chlorine each day, and you have a minimum FC level of 2, so you normally raise FC to 4, and the next day it is 2.

    Now say you want to go away for a week. By your proposal we multiply 7 days by 2 ppm, giving 14 ppm. Lets add 2 more ppm just to be extra safe, giving 16 ppm. Now since the pool is actually losing 50% of it's starting FC level each day, not a constant 2 ppm, the actual FC level at the start of the day will be:

    Day 1: 16 - the day we leave we raise FC up to 16
    Day 2: 8 - each day we lose 50%
    Day 3: 4
    Day 4: 2
    Day 5: 1
    Day 6: 0.5
    Day 7: 0.25
    Day 8: 0.125

    Most likely, somewhere during day 5 the pool will start to get algae, by day 6 the FC level will fall to zero, and we will come home to a green pool.

    Simply raising the FC level extra high works well enough for three or four days, but beyond that it is impractical. For longer trips you need to take additional steps, like using a UV opaque cover or putting in a tablet feeder or both. Even that is only good for one to maybe two weeks. Beyond about a week and a half, many additional problems can come up, and there simply isn't any reliable way to leave a pool unattended.
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    If you don't mind putting the leaf cover on, that's a good idea. It'll cut way down on your FC loss and keep the pool clean too. Just bump the FC to shock level right before you go off.

    How long are you planning on being gone?
    In May, a 4 day trip, a 5 day trip, and a 5 day trip. Brining up to shock level before I leave is probably okay.

    In the summer and winter we usually take 2 week trips+. So I do need some way to plan for those.

    Maybe I will put in some kind of automated feeder after my trips. Is it cheaper to generate chlorine from SWG vs. tabs / bleach? I read the manual for the intellichlor IC-20 and it says it can produce 0.7lbs of chlorine per 24 hour period. The life of the cell is 10000 hours. So over the life of the cell it can produce 10000/24*0.7 = 292lbs of chlorine. Cell cost $500 so each $1 buys 0.58lbs of chlorine. 35lb bucket of tabs cost $80 so each $1 buys 0.44lbs of chlorine. I buy bleach from local Costco at $8.6 for 3 bottles of 182oz 6% bleach. 182oz x 3 x 0.06 = 32.76oz = about 2 lbs of chlorine. So for bleach each $1 buys 0.23lbs of chlorine. It seems like SWG is the cheapest source of Chlorine once I put in a power center. Did I do my math right?
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Galun, your math looks essentially correct, but you left out some secondary costs on both sides. You might want to charge the SWG a little extra for the cost of salt, electricity to run the unit, CYA to bring up the CYA level, the initial investment in the power center, and the risk that the cell will fail for some reason other than wearing out after 10,000 hours. On the trichlor side you might want to include the costs of soda ash to make up for the PH reduction from using trichlor and something for long term water replacement as the CYA level goes up.

    Various people have worked through these calculations and they always come out fairly close, sometimes better for the SWG, sometimes not, but always fairly close.
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Thanks Jason. I am going to shock / use tabs for now, and think about various forms of automated chlorine addition later. They may pay for themselves quickly if I can avoid the expenses of fixing a green pool if I go away for 2 weeks.
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Floaters are dirt cheap. If I'm to be gone for two weeks, I load two. I throw one in the pool and leave one for a friend to throw in at the halfway mark. I don't even need to shock. Each floater raises my CYA by around 6 ppm. I start at 25 and by the end of the season I am usually around 40.
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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Registering here is the best decision I made since I got my pool.

    Firing the pool store is the second best decision.
    18'x40' (est. 20K gal) Kidney shape pool // Pentair Intelliflo VS-AU // Pentair Suntouch // Raypak RP2100 Digital // 48sqft DE filter // Stenner 85MHP17 peristaltic pump // Dolphin Deluxe 4.

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    Re: How to plan for maintenance during trips / vacations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prav
    Maybe 50 ppm borates will help as an algaestat. That way, less potential organics to consume CL.

    Borates help to prevent algae, but sunlight is likely the biggest culprit to FC loss vs. organics. Sheild the sun and you'll lose less FC per day
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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