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Thread: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

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    Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    My husband and I were looking for an inexpensive but fun pool for our 2 girls, Autumn and Summer. We settled on an Intex above ground pool, 16'x48". Now understand that neither my husband nor myself have ever had any experience with a pool that required chemicals or upkeep other than dumping it out and refilling. So to say we were at a loss would be putting it mildly. We get the pool and I am looking at all these chemicals that everyone keeps telling me that we need to get for it to be properly set up. UGH! I then decide I will talk to a few pool companies about a "salt water system". I am told that all I need is the SWG and several bags of salt, then to run the system everyday for at least 4 hours. So here I am thinking okay I can handle that no problem. I get the SWG in and my husband sets it up and adds the salt. In the mean time I am trying to read the manual to understand how to run it. It may as well have been written in Greek for all the good that did me. My husband says well its set up and it has the salt in it so it should be good just leave it alone. Well, my kids and their cousins have had a great couple of weeks with it then we went out of town for the weekend. Get home today and there is something growing in it. I have been researching on line all evening trying to figure out what to do next and there are just too many things on line to try to figure out where to start. Then I find you guys and I am thinking WOO HOO, I have found my life savers. So now I need info before I go shopping on tomorrow.
    1-I have seen nothing on your site about the AQUA CHEM test strips that they sell at Wal Mart-Should I make the assumption that I wasted my money on these things and throw them out?
    2-Are the AQUA CHEM shock treatments any good to use in the pool?(Some were given to me by a neighbor)

    I now understand about the CYA and bought some stabalizer earlier today. Do I add it now while trying to get rid of the algae or wait until the algae is gone?
    Be prepared because I know I will have more questions later...

    Thanks for any and all assistance. The faster I can get this fixed the less fussing I will have to listen to from my girls.
    Tami

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    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Hi Tami, welcome to TFP.

    We got your back. No worries.

    First, read pool school (upper right of this page, white button). Then read it again. Go shopping after a nice cup of coffee and a morning read. It will help you know what to buy and why. It won't be much. Probably just bleach.

    Then shop at www.tftestkits.com and get your kit on the way. You really need the kind of kit that will help you, not the frustration of the wrong one. BTDT...

    The strips are mostly junk but if that's all you have we'll work with them for now. They really are useless. Steer you wrong almost every time. Another BTDT and I still have some left (I test my other bodies of water with them, a fish-less pond and the foot bath. They tell me nothing except if there's chlorine in them or not).

    The SWG system has to be have salt added 24 hours in advance before startup. This means you have to chlorinate the pool while the salt is dissolving. Bleach is the best choice for the short term startup of a SWG. SWG also requires a CYA level of 60-80ppm although apparenlty Intex SWG can run efficiently at the lower levels, so shoot for 60'ish and see how the SWG behaves.

    All this said, don't do that stuff till you're finished shocking. I am sorry to say it's time to shut the SWG down and go into shock mode. Growing stuff... you don't clarify exactly what is growing but I assume your pool is green. Green is as good an indicator to shock as a test is showing combined chlorine. The SWG simply couldn't keep up. Give the SWG a rest for now and learn about shocking as detailed in pool school. Remember, shocking is not a product or a one time event but rather a process that must be completed.

    In the end your SWG will purr along and you won't run into this issue. But first we clean up the pool and that requires manual additions of chlorine and commitment to the shocking process (pool school, never forget pool school). Go buy regular 6% bleach and HTH stabilizer/conditioner (HTH dissolves fast, very convenient and available at walmart) and post a full set of test results, even if they're from the strips. Go to a pool store with a water sample, they will do a free test for you. Post those results.

    We can assume you have no CYA. Your chlorine burns off fast without it. For shocking, add CYA to the lower range of about 30ppm. The shocking will take less chlorine at this level (cheaper). Then raise CYA when you're ready to re-start the SWG after the shocking is complete.

    To determine how much of what to add, use www.poolcalculator.com. Set your goals for TFP (bottom selector box) and enter in your current levels to the now column. Then enter the level you wish to change the pool to in the target column. It will calculate everything for you. CYA is what changes the chlorine goals section's numbers, enter 0 for now but after you add CYA (in a sock, hung off the ladder or in front of a return, then squish it frequently till it's all gone) enter that number in and the chlorine levels will change. Ignore SWG level till you are done shocking, you will be using the std. values for now.

    Did I mention ordering a FAS-DPD test kit?

    K, hope this all helps. I do wish the SWG mfr's would tell people this, it just makes their product look bad when it can't do what it can do because it wasn't started up properly. 24 hours of no chlorine is just asking for an algae bloom... eventually.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Get some chlorine in there as Frog said. Then work on getting the levels right ofr the swcg to run.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    You've gotten very good advice above. The only thing I want to add is that we would like to know what products you have added to the pool so far. What are the listed ingredients? It may be that there is some CYA in those products and this on the pool already. It will matter when you add more, need to be sure if it starts from 0ppm or something greater.
    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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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Okay. Here is what we did last night.
    1-Somewhere around 830pm I added Aqua Chem Shock treatment, only thing I had on hand.
    Then I found your sight and read up on the pool school section about treating algae and saw where we would need to be checking it every hour to see if there is a difference. I couldn't go back to town but I had several bags of the Shock treatment that my neighbor had given me and decided I would continue with that until I could go to town today.
    2-1030pm-dragged my husband outside to help clean out the filter and skimmer. Put about a pound of stabalizer in a sock in the skimmer and added another 10 ounce bag of shock treatment.
    3-Midnight-using the test strips all readings were showing high so decided to leave it until this morning. Could tell a small difference in the water at that time.
    This morning I can tell a major difference in the pool!! Woo Hoo, something I am doing is working.
    Again, all I have are those test strips (my hubby is working on getting me a kit ordered, the pool is now officially my domain, he says he isn't touching it.) Anyway according to the strips,(Aqua Chem 6 way test strips)it says the following:
    HARDNESS-HIGH 250
    TOTAL CHLORINE-OK 3
    FREE CHLORINE-VERY HIGH 10
    PH-HIGH 7.8
    TOTAL ALKALINITY-LOW 40
    STABALIZER-BETWEEN VERY LOW AND OK (I would say under 50)

    We have not brushed or vacuumed the pool yet. But the green stuff that was growing on the pool yesterday is at least 75% less than it was last night.
    What should I do next? Is it safe to get in the pool and vacuum and try to brush it or should we try to do that from the outside?
    Tami

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Ingredients on the Aqua Chem Vinyl Pool Shock:
    Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione, dihydate--99%
    Other Ingredients 1%----???? no listing as to what this is.
    It says available chlorine is 55%

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Welcome!!

    How many bags of dichlor have you put in total? Dichlor has CYA/stabilizer in it so you may want to take the sock out if it hasn't already dissolved. Problem is that TOO much CYA can mean being required to use higher free chlorine levels, and higher shock levels. It would be best to get some plain, ole grocery store bleach to use as your chlorine source as it doesn't add any other ingredients but chlorine. You may be okay to use the stabilizer after testing if your CYA is really low. Don't trust the strips on CYA. I've been there, done that.

    Get a good test kit. Best investment over time that you can make. If you're the one maintaining the pool, it's going to make your life easier.

    Good luck clearing your pool. Hope this helps.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    So far, I have put in a total of 4 bags in a 16 hour period. Should I test the water again? Unfortunately, the only way I have to test is the strips working on getting the other kit ordered. The water is looking much better and alot of algae is gone from the sides of the pool. It is looking much better than it was.

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    12:30 pm just did test strip
    hardness-between 250 and 1000
    total chlorine-3
    free chlorine-10
    ph-7.8
    total alkalinity-between 40-120
    stabalizer-between 0-50
    What does all of the above mean? I think I am on the right track but truly have no idea.
    Tami

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Appears you are doing well and on your way to clearing your pool. Some of the above numbers look suspect (free chlorine is never more than total chlorine). But, regardless, keep brushing and filtering.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Okay, borrowed a neighbors chlorine and pH test kit that has the drops that you mix with the pool water. It shows the Chlorine at 5 or possibly higher(I think this because the dark yellow color of the pool water is darker than what the test goes to). The pH I think is above 8.2 because the water is a bluish purple instead of the pinkish purple shown on the side. This test kit is again by Aqua Chem but it has the solutions instead of the test strips. Most of the algae seems to be gone but I am going to town in a few minutes to get a brush and try to scrub the sides and bottom of the pool.
    Do I need to worry with trying to get the correct balances right now or just keep working on killing the algae?
    Tami

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    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    PH results can be unreliable at high chlorine levels. If you have distilled water, you can mix equal parts distilled water and pool water and measure chlorine with that sample. Then, take your reading and double it. If below 10, then I'd lower pH.

    While you're at the GROCERY store, pick up some plain chlorine bleach 6%. Also, if you have a Lowe's or Home Depot or pool store, pick up some muriatic acid. That will lower pH if you need to later. It's $6-8/gallon.

    Good luck!
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Alrighty folks,
    I have ordered the TF-100 test kit along with the salt test kit. No eta at this time. I have spent the last 2 hours brushing and vacuuming the pool. Looks 100% better and water is clear. According to the Aqua Chem solution test kit that I borrowed from the neighbor it shows the pH at 7.8 but the chlorine still appears to be really high. Test kit only shows up to 5 and the yellow color of the pool water is alot darker than the tester.
    I am fixing to read over the pool school info again to find out whats next. Seeing as to how I am waiting on the other test kit can anyone give me any suggestions on my next step. The filter has been running constantly for over 24 hours except for the 2 times that we cleaned it. Do I need to continue to allow it to run or is it safe to cut if off now? Still learning here so I am open to any suggestions.
    Thanks for all of your help, it has made a world of difference.
    Tami

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Keep the filter running 24/7 until all the algae is gone. You can take a sample of pool water to a pool store and ask them to test it, just don't buy anything they recommend and post the results here. You sound like you are making good progress!
    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: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Here is where we are today. I took a sample of the pool water to the pool store, here is what they told me:
    Free Chlorine is at 4.0
    Combined Chlorine is -3.0 (could someone explain this to me?)
    Total Chlorine is at 0.9
    pH is at 6.7 (need to add borax but how do I determine how much?)
    Cyanuric Acid is at 6 (will add 2.5 lbs more stabalizer to the skimmer)
    Total Alkalinity is at 33 (will add 3.5 lbs of baking soda)
    Salt is at 3300
    They told me it was safe to allow the kids to swim even while adding all of this. Is that true?
    Thank you guys so much for your help. I will add all of this today and continue to run the filter. Tomorrow evening I will take another sample to be checked to see if I have everything in line and then hopefully I can start working on the SWG setting to ensure that I am making enough free chlorine. Hopefully my TF100 test kit will be in after that.
    Tami

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Use the Pool Calc to determine how much you need to add is the best way of figuring it out.

    We don't recommend adding anything eccept CYA while anyone is actually in the pool but you can get back in as soon as 30 minutes after adding. Salt is ok to swim with while it's dissolving also.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Okay used the pool calculator and have added everything that is called. Will make the girls wait 30 min before getting in, one more question, the stabalizer takes forever to disolve thru the skimmer any other ways to add it and is it okay for the girls to play while it is in the skimmer?
    Tami

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    Well, this is why we don't rely on pool store testing unless absolutely necessary! Total chlorine = free chlorine + combined chlorine. How can they measure -3.0 for combined chlorine? Also, there is no way they could come up with 6 as a valid CYA reading. Per chance did they use a strip and run it through a computer?
    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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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    It's ok to swim while the CYA (stabilizer) is in the skimmer.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Feeling really stupid. HELP!

    they ran it all thru a computer.

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