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Thread: Wondering about advice received

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    Wondering about advice received

    My wife and I are purchasing a house in SoCal, with a 25k gallon pool+spa. We're pool newbies.

    The seller directed me to a nearby store where he gets his supplies, and advised me to do what he did - have them come out a couple times and learn from them how to maintain it myself. So I dropped in at to store recently and spoke with the store owner (henceforth referred to as 'the salesman' so as not to confuse with the owner of the current home). We're looking at upgrading the equipment sometime in the next 6 months (the heater, pump, and filter are getting on in age, and the valves leak a little bit), so I'd like to establish a good relationship with a store who can handle this for us.

    My biggest concern is getting 'pool stored', as I'm entirely new to this, and there is so much info out there. I've read up on the BBB method some as well.

    I was a bit surprised by some of the advice - both positively and negatively.

    I was told that pool maintenance routines and advice is regional - that what applies in Florida doesn't apply to California, New England, or the midwest; though I haven't read this previously, this makes some sense to me regarding conflicting information I've read from otherwise authoritative-seeming sources.

    I was advised that a salt water generator can be more hassle than it's worth - more maintenance, pricier, and when [not if] it stops working I'll be looking at expensive replacement. I have been considering this change, based on recommendations from various people, though I have never been in a salt water pool. I was told that if any of the pipes are copper, then it's a no-go.

    The salesman also advised me to have them come out a couple times, so they can teach me how to do all the maintenance myself.

    Basically, I was also suggested to maintain with the following:

    - 12% chlorine (~$20 for a 4-gallon case), which (paraphrase) "is usually actually much stronger, upwards of 17%, in a fresh batch, and drops to about 12% by the last drop of the last bottle". Price wise that seems somewhat reasonable, though I imagine I can get 6% chlorine bleach for less than $2.50/bottle. The house seller uses about 1 bottle/week. Store rotates it's stock to keep it fresh.

    - For high pH problems, muriatic acid

    - For low pH problems, sodium bicarbonate. When asked about regular arm and hammer baking soda, the salesman said that in his experience different brands of supposedly the exact same stuff will perform differently, and the one they sell is one they have found to be very reliable. Didn't ask about the price.

    The salesman brought up ammonia, and there was discussion of shocking. He recommended using a chemical that I believe might have been potassium monopersulfate; it's label called it "shock oxidizer", and it was told to me that soon it would just be listed as an 'oxidizer'. Costs $8/pound, the bag recommends "1 pound per 10k gallons every week", the salesman said he thinks if people routinely used a bag (1 pound) every other week they wouldn't have to worry much about shocking. This stuff was new to me, I haven't researched it yet.

    All in all, this seems on the level - but am I walking into being 'pool stored' ?
    Inground free form, 26,000 gal, tired paint over plaster, Intelliflo VF pump,
    Targus TA100D sand filter, Pool Valet infloor cleaning

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    Welcome to TFP!

    A mixture of good advice and total non-sense there. There certainly are some regional variations in pool care, but more is the same than is different. SWGs need their cell replaced every three to five years. So you basically pay for several years of chlorine once every 3-5 years instead of paying for it week by week. The total cost often comes out about the same. A huge number of people here living in every possible region love their SWG and would never go back. Of course a number of others don't think a SWG is worth it.

    12% liquid chlorine is often a good deal, but I don't believe that it would ever be 17%, more than 12% sure, all the way up at 17% not so much. Muriatic acid is great. Sodium bicarbonate is certainly not what you use for low PH, that is crazy talk. Arm and Hammer baking soda is superior in every possible way to pool store alkalinity increaser, not that there is much difference other than from the point of view of the salesman who doesn't carry Arm and Hammer. Potassium monopersulfate works fine, it just costs a lot more, again good for the salesman. There is no need to shock weekly. You only need to shock when there is a problem.

    All in all, yes pool stored.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Wondering about advice received

    Thanks for the response, Jason. I'm re-reading the BBB guide now, as well.

    In the salesman's defense, sodium bicarbonate was brought up by me, and adjacent to the conversation on muriatic acid, so he might have actually made any claim regarding it being related to pH. Learning about how to deal with the pool is just one more thing I'm having to cram into my cranium while working through escrow, so everything has been a bit fuzzy lately.
    Inground free form, 26,000 gal, tired paint over plaster, Intelliflo VF pump,
    Targus TA100D sand filter, Pool Valet infloor cleaning

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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    I think that you will want to have them come out to see the pool and walk you through chores like when to clean filter and how that is done. I found comments like, watch the strength of return flow to see if filter needs cleaning, tap on band as you tighten to help it snug up, to be very helpful. I knew zip about pools or equipment and took notes on every comment.
    Hate to contradict anyone in forum whom I consider so much better than myself, insert bowing icon, but overall advice score was much better than average pool store, I give them a C+.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    Having them come out and show you your equipment is a great idea. That is something we can't easily do over the Internet. Just take their advice with a grain of salt

    anonapersona, a good point, not contradicting at all.
    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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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    Ahhhh, yes, the steep learning curve. The first few weeks will be intimidating as you have to learn which valve goes where and so on. I discovered I was missing a diverter in my skimmer, so there was hardly any movement at the bottom of the pool.

    Unless they left you their tools, you're going to have some outlay at first buying a pole, brushes, skimmer, and the all-important test kit. But you'll be spending like mad the first month or so anyway in a new home. Take a tip: order up a TF100XL and a speedstir. The XL is because you'll be running through reagents at an amazing pace playing with your new toy. The speedstir makes the CH test bearable.

    SoCal is a large area. Want to narrow it down any? Mostly I'm just curious if the pool store is the one where I buy my bleach and acid.

    I see a big plus that the pool store encourages liquid bleach. 17% is a bit exagerrated, but I'm pretty sure the HASA bleach I get is over 12%, maybe 14%, at least when it's fresh. Baking Soda is Baking Soda, that much is pure salesmanship. The shock thing, I'd cut some slack. Most people don't have a clue, don't test their water often enough, use pucks and load up on CYA. I think he's trying to sell an ounce of prevention. Regional differences are true to some degree. We don't drain and winterize, so CYA buildup is more of a concern. No rainwater dilution here all summer long, unlike a lot of the US. Hard water. The principles are the same, the responses vary with region.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Join Date
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    Location
    Glendale, CA
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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    Pool maintenance doesn't really vary by region - you're going to want to keep your parameters the same - but the conditions are different. Our water is a lot harder so you watch your CH levels rise all summer, we get virtually no rain when it's warm - so a lot less run off in the pool when algae is most active, a lot more sun, etc. etc.

    You really only have 2 good choices for pool maintenance - either hire someone and kinda look over their shoulder - or do the TFP thing. Nothing wrong with getting some of your Chems from a pool store if the price is good - but always double check the advice.

    You should be able to get Hasa 12% for about $10-15 a case - which has always been the cheapest bleach I can find. 1 gallon a week is about what I use.

    It's overwhelming at first - but stick with pool school and it'll sink in.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    There are somethings affected by region and one of our common questions of new posters is "where are you located" because sometimes that does affect our answers...but only to specific issues. The ABCs of Pool Water chemistry and BBB principals are pretty much the same regardless of your location.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Wondering about advice received

    I'm in Lake Forest; the pool store is there as well. I won't call it out by name - I am uncertain of the policies and etiquette here to do so. The store owner did recommend liquid bleach and baking soda. He also said if I don't take care of the pool properly, they'd give me a hard time until I start doing a better job with it. Seemed to care that I do things right, didn't seem like he was in a hurry to start selling me stuff - I mentioned the equipment was old and probably needs replacing soon, his response was basically "Yep, probably" and left it at that for the time being.

    I don't know the particular bleach they sell, but it's a case of four 1-gallon bottles, for $20-something.

    The homeowner is leaving all of their equipment, and even gave me a run down on how to use everything (unlike most California home sales, we actually ended up meeting the sellers). Didn't see what particular test kit it was, looked like a stereotypical kit - I plan to get the TF100, thanks for the info on the XL. I know the current homeowner basically only keeps on hand liquid bleach, muriatic acid, and an algaecide. Probably baking soda and borax too, but I didn't see those amongst the supplies.
    Inground free form, 26,000 gal, tired paint over plaster, Intelliflo VF pump,
    Targus TA100D sand filter, Pool Valet infloor cleaning

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Wondering about advice received

    Stick with it, it does get easier!!! My wife and I are on week 3 of new home ownership and more frustratingly a new pool ownership.

    Our pool store wasn't as helpful as yours though! Our pool store doesn't even carry liquid chlorine or advocate using it in your pool at all!

    Keep tinkering with it and you'll get it though. The first 2 weeks I was worried I would break something, now days I just turn knobs and plug holes just to see what will happen. Sure the pump has squeeled like it's about to explode and all the water has rushed out of it on a couple occasions but it hasn't happened any more lately! And the good thing is when something like that happens I know exactly what to do because it's happened to me before.

    And I give a +1 to the speedstir. It's awesome. I splurged for it on my test kit order... now i'm wishing I had splurged even more and ordered the sample tool!!!
    -Tom

    17,000 gal plaster with spa. Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filters. Jandy systems with Aqualink RS and Polaris 360.

    Pool Store free since May 2011!

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