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Thread: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

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    At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Morning,

    This summer will be my third with our pool. For some reason, I'm having an absolute nightmare of a time trying to get my pool to clear up. I've been at it for weeks, testing constantly and being advised by the folks at the local pool store. I'm generally not one to buy every chemical they suggest, sticking to just chlorine and supermarket chemicals for the most part. At this point though, I'm at a total loss for how to proceed and even the folks at Leslie's are running out of ideas.

    I have a fiberglass pool, somewhere between 16-18k gallons. It's very difficult to get a measure because it's a strange shape. Sortof a wave, with little seats in 3 corners. The depth ranges from 3 to ~5 feet. The current water chemistry is:

    Sand filter, around 16-18k gallons. I'm in Atlanta, with trees around the property but nothing directly over the pool.

    FAC: 5 (the Leslie's rep said 7.6, but wrote 5. My home kit only goes to 5, but it was darker than that).
    TAC: 5 (ditto)
    PH: 7.4
    TA: 90
    Hardness: 100
    CYA: 50
    TDS: 500
    Phosphates: 100

    Here's the rub. Being fiberglass, it's very prone to metal stains. I fight them every summer. When I first shocked the pool this year, the whole thing turned dark brown. I pushed on ahead, getting all the chemistry right, then took a sample to Leslie's to have it checked. When all was in line, they had me use a stain remover and Metal Free, saying that the cloudiness that remained was probably due to copper. I used around 3 lb of ascorbic acid, then the Metal Free, and it cleared the stain but the pool stayed a cloudy green. I went back in with a picture, they said throw some algaecide in. I don't generally use a lot of algaecide, but at this point I'd been trying to clear it with just chlorine for weeks and it wasn't going anywhere. So I used a 50% non-copper algaecide and the pool started to stain again. I've got more ascorbic acid, so I'm not as upset as I might otherwise be (it's expensive). Still, I don't want to refight the stain until the pool is clear. Right now it looks like this:





    The Leslie's guy sold me a different algaecide and some PhosFree today and told me to try that. I've never used PhosFree, or had a phosphate issue. In fact, it tested at zero last week. The ONLY thing that could have put them in there is the algaecide or shock, as I've added nothing else.

    I'm really just not sure what to do here. If I could just get the stupid thing to clear off so I could start vacuuming and cleaning I'd be in good shape inside of a week, but I've yet to see the bottom of the pool this year. It had to stay uncovered for a sizable chunk of winter (the dog more or less destroyed the old cover), but the one I had never really worked all that well to begin with. There weren't any more leaves and other junk in the pool this year than in times previous.

    Thanks in advance!
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Welcome to TFP!

    The pool store solution of adding more and more chemicals gets expensive and is not going to work anyway. You really don't want to use phosphate remover, first off your phosphate level is already very very low, adding phosphate remover is likely to cloud the water further, and removing phosphates is a waste of time and money in the first place.

    Likewise, algaecide is not going to help much. Algaecide is somewhat effective at preventing algae, but does little if anything when you actually have algae.

    What would really help is a better test kit that can measure higher FC levels accurately, such as a FAS-DPD chlorine test. With CYA at 50 you want your FC level to be around 16 to 20 to kill the algae, and without a good test kit you need to do a lot of guessing and are just as likely to have FC too low as high enough.

    Could you tell us about what kind of filter you have and how it has been doing through this? Has the filter pressure been going up? Have you been cleaning/backwashing the filter?
    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: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Listen to the advice you get here and it will be clear. It will take patience, but patience with get you a TFP.

    Sorry to say you have been pool stored like a lot of us have been.
    13,000 Plaster IG Pool approx
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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    I'm sadly lacking in some of that information. This is my third summer in this home, and the pool was built by the owner *before* the one I bought from. There's no manual for the filter or pump, so I'm having to go on what I can find online.

    The filter is a Crystal-Flo, according to the sticker on the side. It doesn't provide a model number. This is the first year I changed the sand; up until now it's been working fine. I pulled a manual offline that showed me how to open the thing up and get it cleaned out, but it was for multiple sizes so I'm still not sure which I have. There's a raised line on the outside of the filter which I took to be a fill line (it wasn't anything decorative). I added sand up to that point, filled with water and the whole thing is pumping away just fine. No sand is leaking out (to my knowledge), and it appears to be doing it's job the same as always. I ended up adding 7 bags of sand, at .5 CU per bag. Could have added more actually, but like I said, I think the ridge on the outside is a fill line.

    As to the pressure... the gauge has been broken since I purchased the place. I do a backwash and rinse pretty regularly. At least once a week, and more often when I've done startup in the past (or if I feel like the vacuum is losing pressure, etc.). I've been meaning to replace it, but it's never been a high priority. The pool just hasn't ever been this tough to clear.

    edit: Bit more info. I generally use 3" tri-chlor tabs, or at least I have in the past. When I opened it this year, I attempted to shock with just plain bleach as suggested at this site. That's when I got the first, really bad metal stain. Even the water looked brown. I cleared that with ascorbic acid and metal free, but it's more or less returned as you can see from the pictures above. That's when I started taking samples to Leslie's in the hope that someone could tell me how to clear it off.

    Also, I've got a dog who won't stay out of the **** thing. It gets hot in Atlanta, and she jumps in for two seconds to get wet and stay cool. I've always let her in the pool without issue, but I suppose it's possible she's dragging something in with her.
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    The next place to go is pool school link at the top right of this page. There is article on how to deal with an algae bloom. Be patient when dealing with the shock process. For some it goes quick others it can persist a bit longer than expected.

    Definitely get a good test kit like the TF-100 or the Taylor kit. Knowing whats going on with the water chemistry is going to be key in getting things back on track.

    If you post pictures of your pool equipment, there are alot of knowledgeable folks here that can help you out. The pressure gauge is generally an easy DIY project. They are pretty handy for a sand filter, which tends to filter a bit better dirty than freshly back washed.
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Sand filters can take a while to clear up the water, several days at least sometimes more than a week. Having a working pressure gauge would help. It isn't critical, but then they don't cost very much to replace.

    I wouldn't worry about your dog, she isn't going to make the pool worse and as long as she isn't drinking pool water she should be fine.

    I don't recommend Metal Free, it doesn't work nearly as well as some of the other sequestrants. ProTeam's Metal Magic and Jack's Magic the Pink Stuff (regular), the Blue Stuff (fresh plaster), and the Purple Stuff (SWG) are some of the top sequestrants. You can also find many other brands with similar products, some of which are noticeably less expensive. Sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives are the most effective.
    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: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    So if I'm hearing right, I really just need to get my chlorine higher and leave it there for several days, scrubbing all the while to really clear it up. Am I on the right track? I just ordered a better kit, but what do I do if my pool turns dark brown again like before?
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Yes, that is correct.

    If you use the correct amount of a good brand of sequestrant the stains should not return.
    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: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    What about the stain that's already there? It started coming back when I used algaecide over the weekend. Should I try to clear that up now, or just wait until the pool is clear? I specifically bought bulk ascorbic acid with the assumption that whatever I ended up doing would probably lead to this exact result.

    Actually, that's a follow-up question I had. Do things like Jack's Magic actually remove the stains, or just prevent them? All I've ever used is ascorbic acid treatments. I was told sequesters don't do much for metals already deposited onto the fiberglass.
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Sequestrant can remove new stains to some extent, especially if the PH is around 7.0 to 7.2, but won't do anything for stains that have been around for a long time.

    Ascorbic acid lifts the stains and puts the metals back in the water. Without a sequestrant the stains will just redeposit the next time the PH goes up a little. Sequestrant binds to metals in the water and prevents them from redepositing.

    Ascorbic acid is incompatible with chlorine. If you add more now you will use up most of it fighting with the chlorine. Plus, if you let the chlorine level come down the algae will really get going and you won't be able to see what you are doing. There are several things you can try, and many of them might work to some extent, but all of them are also problematic to some extent. I would clear the water up and hope that adding some sequestrant cleared the stains up a little, and then deal with the remaining stains later. That will take longer, but is going to work more reliably.
    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: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Quote Originally Posted by Cambriel
    It started coming back when I used algaecide over the weekend. .
    Whats in the algecide? Does the algecide you have been using have copper in it?
    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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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    That's about what I thought. Thanks for the help. Hopefully the new kit will be here in a couple of days and I can test more accurately. In the meantime, I'm going to start raising the chlorine via bleach since I've got a ways to go.

    I really need the pool open ASAP. I've got 50+ people showing up on June 18, and I'd also like to at least get some actual use out of the thing this summer.

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    Whats in the algecide? Does the algecide you have been using have copper in it?
    Not according to the bottle. It's the 50% algaecide that is sold at Lowe's. It's possible it's got copper as an unlisted ingredient, but it's not the expensive stuff that lists it on the bottle.

    I've always had metal issues. It's an older hope, and I suspect it's copper from the pipes used for fill water. However, every time I get it tested it shows as zero.
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Some things I noticed (please feel free to correct me if I missed something):

    Right now I wouldn't worry too much about the water clearing, sand filter or no. You need to kill that algae first, THEN worry about the water clearing. Follow the shock process, and when you are done your water will be more of a gray or milky white, not green. That is what you need to clear, not the green algae that's there now.

    The gauge should cost you around or less than $10, and will take you about 2 minutes to change.
    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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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    I don't really know how to read one of those pressure gauges though. I'm not sure what pressure level is normal, etc.
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    My experience is with a sand filter, so I can help. It's very easy. Get your new gauge installed. Backflush the filter until water runs clear. Turn off the pump and let the sand settle for at least 30 seconds. Put the valve back to clean mode, and note pressure. When your pressure climbs to 8 to 10 PSI over the clean PSI, it's time to backflush.
    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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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Jacked the chlorine through the roof yesterday when I got home from work. My new test kit gets here tomorrow, so I had to eyeball it using the pool calculator. I can't actually test again past 5 ppm until the new kit arrives, but it should be well into shock range. It appeared to be going gray last night, and actually a touch clearer this morning. The metal stain is really bad, to the point where the whole pool is beige, but the water itself is starting to lose some of its haze. I could make out shadows where small clumps of leaves were missed in the shallow end. They were foggy, but it's a lot better than the day before.

    I'm hoping that by the time I'm home, it will have cleared a touch more. I guess we'll see.
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Be sure your filter is clean and filtering properly. All the proper chemical balancing in the world won't do a thing if your filter is dirty, thus the algae has nowhere to go.

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    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    All the proper chemical balancing in the world won't do a thing if your filter is dirty, thus the algae has nowhere to go
    I suppose you could look at it that way but I would rather see a pool owner first balance his chemistry, begin killing the algae, and then use the filter to clear the pool. We're sort of saying the same thing but filters won't kill algae.....chlorine is the first step.
    Dave S.
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  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: At my wits end with Leslie's, hoping you can help

    Pool is still clearing, albeit slowly. I can see relatively well in the shallow end, and was able to make out the color of the leaf net when I scraped at the deep end. It looked like there were some shadows of little junk still sitting down there which I managed to get out.

    By now, the pool is a dull gray/blue. I've still got the chlorine high (how high I don't know, but my TFT kit should be here today when I get home). I've started to get some soapy bubbles on top of the pool as well, I assume from the high chlorine.

    My question now is... what next? Just keep the pump running 24/7 through the weekend? I kinda hate to run the pump that long consecutively, not least for reasons of my power bill. In the past, letting the pool sit still overnight has often caused dead algae to fall out of solution so they could be vacuumed up, particularly if I used a clarifier or pool floc. Is that something I could/should consider doing? Like I said, it's clearing a bit more each day but at this rate it could be a week of constant 24/7 pumping to clear it fully.
    Pool size- 24 ft Round. 13500 gal Above Ground. Filter- Sand 25 GPM, Pump- 1.5 HP/ 70 GPM.
    K2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit.

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