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Thread: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

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    1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Good day everyone:

    First of all I am so happy to have found this resource. less than 24 hours ago I knew next to nothing about water chemistry and after reading through pool school I feel like I have enough info to be dangerous

    I bought a fixer-upper last december and of course it came with an 22000 gallon 16x32 in ground pool that was in rough shape. It wasn't closed properly for winter and it was a really really bad winter here in MA. The pool was drained to less than 1/2 full, the linings came off the walls and I didn't even think it could be re-attached. I was seriously consider burying the pool, but I didn't and I'm glad I didnt.

    So fast forward to the last week or so, the "pool guy" re-attached the lining, checked the filter and filled the pool with new water. Now at this point I had no idea anything about maintaining a pool. A long-time friend of the family has had a pool for 20 years and was happy to point us in the "right" direction. Armed with his advice I went to the local pool store and bought a hayward brominator, 50 lb of bromine, 25 lbs of PH plus an el cheapo test kit (CL and ph) and 2 lb of lithium hypochlorite to shock the pool for the second and "final" time for the season.

    Low and behold, after reading online at my first opportunity to really focus on the pool I am realizing I am NOT pointed in the right direction.

    So here is what I've done so far.

    1). Had liner re-attached and sand filter checked out.
    2). Completely new water delivered
    3). Shocked the pool with lithium hypo after a ton of dirt, mold got into the pool while I powerwashed the filthy concrete deck.
    4). Started the brominator less than 24 hours ago
    6). Stopped brominator already
    5). tested water today and here are results

    cl: 0.3
    ph: 6.8 (added 27 oz of Sodium Carbonate less than an hour ago)
    TA: 20

    My 5 bottle testing kit only does these tests (plus an acid test if PH is high) and I know after reading pool school this is insufficient so I ordered the TF-100 test kit this morning.

    I am looking for advice in these areas.

    I decided that I do not want to go bromine. The reasons besides the expense is that my pool gets sun from late morning to dusk. It is in direct sunlight for almost all of that time. I am afraid that even though I have a solar cover that the sunlight will make having a bromine pool really expensive. I know that you once you have a bromine pool you always have a bromine pool until the water is switched, however I haven't put that much bromine in the pool in less than 24 hours from tablets did I? Can I just start using chlorine?

    Ideally I want to go the BBB route if I could and the Pool School provides some great information however I am a little confused to where I should begin. My water is currently mostly untreated and needs sanitizer asap. If I use chlorine do I need to shock it to raise it to 10ppm or do I just add chlorine to get it to the standard 1.0 - 3.0.

    As someone who has never owned a pool and now wants to have a great one I am hoping you can help me truly be pointed in the right direction. I want to learn and I can be patient. Thanks in advance.

    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

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    JesseWV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    North Central WV

    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    The bromine level is so low it shouldn't be a problem using chlorine instead.

    You really need to find out if you completed the shock process with the lithium hypo or not. A combined chlorine reading would help. However I'm not familiar with lithium hypo shock you used, so I'll leave that to the experts.
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    The pool had been shocked by the "pool guy" when the water was first delivered. After I powerwashed the pool deck I shocked it on Sunday (5/22) with the 2 lbs of lithium hypochlorite. On Monday my basic OTO test read 0. I started the bromine last night and this evening just after shutting off the bromine it the basic OTO test read 0.3

    Thanks for the information.
    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Lithium-hypo is fine to use, just very expensive.

    Your TA is probably still too low. You should double check both PH and TA levels after the adjustment mixes in and adjust further as needed. TA should be around 70 to 90. You can raise TA with baking soda. The Sodium Carbonate will have raised the TA a little, but at this point you probably need to raise TA more without continuing to raise PH.

    If the water is clear and your chlorine doesn't all disappear as soon as you add it, then all you need is the standard chlorine levels.

    If you are going with chlorine, you need to add some CYA/stabilizer/conditioner to protect the chlorine from sunlight. The recommended level is between 30 and 50. At the start of the season it is best to aim for the high end of that range, as it will come down slowly over the course of the season.
    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: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Thanks for the advice!

    I will test and raise TA appropriately this evening.

    For CYA, should I wait until I receive the test kit or can I add a certain amount now?

    One other question, what is the proper technique for adding bleach to the pool? Is it in front of the return? I know stabilizer gets socked and placed in the skimmer, but not sure about the others.

    Sorry for these elementary questions. This whole process is new to me.

    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Houston, Texas

    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Welcome to TFP!
    Poor the bleach slowly in front of the return and keep the pump running at least 1 hour after to mix in well.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    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: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Okay, my tf-100 kit should be here tomorrow, but I don't want to leave my pool another night without sanitizer.

    My current numbers with 5 bottle kit are:

    Cl: 0
    CYA: 0 assuming zero as it is new water
    Ph: over-corrected yesterday and its 8.2
    TA: 40

    I am going to correct my ph and TA before adding bleach so pool calculator says to add 16 lbs of baking soda and 22 oz of muriatic acid. I am going to do that now and then wait an hour and test.

    If my TA and ph are in range I want to get chlorine in my pool. Should I target for 4 ppm and see if it takes or should I aim for a higher ppm (10 or 11)?

    Also I need to add stabilizer and the only stuff I could find was the cheap HTH stabilizer and conditioner 96% CYA. Pool calc says to add 3 gallons of this stuff to aim for 50 ppm. Do I add this before or after the chlorine? Should I return this stuff tomorrow and find better stuff elsewhere?

    Thanks in advance

    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

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    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida

    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    I want to learn and I can be patient.
    That's a great plan. I know you're ready to get this all done but it will be helpful to focus on one parameter at a time and your pool will be balanced and sanitized and ready to swim VERY soon

    1. Adjust your pH - get it in the low to mid 7's and post that number and your TA number. You should be able to do so with your old kit as long as it hasn't been exposed too much to heat and sunlight.

    2. Once your pH is done, adjust your TA with baking soda. this can be done within an hour or so of one another.

    3. Calculate (I think you already have) and dose enough CYA (what you have is fine) to get to around 30-40ppm. If you don't have enough, that's can add more later. Again, you can do it immediately after your other adjustments.

    4. Once your kit arrives, post up the numbers for pH, TA, CH. We know you'll have ZERO FC and CYA but that is about to change after you get those numbers posted for us.

    5. It will go away very quickly, but I would suggest you add a large jug of Clorox this AM if you have it on'll be helpful

    6. Tell us how your water looks.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Okay time to give an update now that my TF-100 kit arrived. My goodness is the kit fun and the speed-stirrer is just plain awesome!!!

    Here are my numbers:


    All in all I think that it could be worse. Water is clear and everything looks great. Now that I have a way to record FC and CC I am thinking about bringing up the pool to shock level (16 or 17) this evening and doing an OCLT. Do you think this will be an okay thing to do?

    Also what are the pro's and con's of having a CH level of 70 in my IG vinyl pool. Any reason to bring this up a bit and if so what's the best way to do so.

    Please let me know what I should be doing/thinking about next.


    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Denton, TX

    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    Your CH is fine. How does your water look? Are you needing to shock? Of course, you can shock if you need to but if there isn't an indication, then I would just bring the FC up to the target for your CYA and call it good.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: 1st time pool owner - in over my head

    My water looks clear, not cloudy at all. After I posted I knew that the right decision was to just bring it up to 7 or 8 ppm and then see what it is in the morning. I guess I am just being paranoid. I don't want any algae outbreaks and week long shocks.

    The next time I can grab a pic I will and post.
    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

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