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Thread: Brand New Pool Owner

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    Brand New Pool Owner

    Hi, I am brand new to owning a house and a pool and I am in desperate need of help. I am from Alaska and have no clue. We are closing on our house next week, and we have been keeping an eye on the pool because the company hired to maintain it has decided to not do their job. In the last 3 days the pool has gone from cloudy to swamp. I have read the post about "swamp to oasis" but I am still confused with all the different terms and abbreviations and what I am supposed to do. There are a lot of levers and switches and I don't know what any of them are, so if someone could explain them to me that would be the greatest thing ever on earth!!!!

    I posted the pictures on our site: http://poolproblems.shutterfly.com/pictures/22

    If anyone can help I would greatly appreciate it!
    Thank you very much!
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Hi, welcome to TFP! First things first, you will need to have the water tested. Find a pool store in your area that does free testing and take them a sample. Do not buy anything they recommend and post the results here and we will take you through the shock process. You need to purchase a high quality FAS-DPD test kit such as a Taylor k2006 or the TF 100. Either of these kits are fine, but the TF 100 is a better value as you receive larger bottles of testing reagents for your money, and the shipping is very fast. A FAS-DPD test kit will allow you to test for higher levels of chlorine that are used when completing the shock process. Don't let someone talk you into buying test strips or any kit that only tests up to 5 ppm of chlorine. They are not adequate for completing the shock process.

    Read through definitions and abbreviations and the visual encyclopedia of pool equipment for more information on pool equipment and terminology.

    Also read through defeating algae and
    how to shock your pool a couple of times to familiarize yourself with the shock process. Feel free to ask any questions you may have, we're here to help!
    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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    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Welcome to TFP!

    Congratulation on your new home and green pool! How fun. I'm thinking Alaska is probably a little low on backyard pools, eh? I think you're going to enjoy your pool. :~}

    So, your first order of business is to get a FAS-DPD test kit. The fave around here is the TF100 from http://tftestkits.net because it's the best value available. It ships from NC, so you'll likely receive it within a day or two of ordering. YAY!

    Keep reading pool school, and all the swamp or green pool threads you can find. You'll need chlorine (bleach) to battle the algae, stock up so you have enough on hand (20 bottles of 6% bleach is good to start).

    The most important thing to remember is that shocking is a process, not a product or a one time action. It can take days to weeks to complete but in the end you'll have a sparking clean pool that is also safe to swim in. Maintaining chlorine at shock level is key to the process and also it's timely end.

    With that said, how much access to the home do you have right now? If you can go there a few times a day before you close you can get started on clearing it out now so you can swim before the season is over.

    But first someone (else) will post and help you understand the pump and filtration system cuz I can't...
    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.

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by frogabog
    Welcome to TFP!

    Congratulation on your new home and green pool! How fun. I'm thinking Alaska is probably a little low on backyard pools, eh? I think you're going to enjoy your pool. :~}

    .
    There is definitely no backyard pools in Alaska, ND, or England (which is where I have lived). We have been in SC about 11 days so I am still learning the area but I did find a pool supply store today. When I went in there and asked about the pool he immediately started trying to sell me some small bottles of chemicals that wouldn't clean up my bathtub, but I will try to get a water sample tested tomorrow. The house we are buying is a foreclosure so we aren't supposed to have access to it but we can get to the pool. I think I underestimated the size of the pool, it is a 20X40 and is at least 6ft deep because of the slide but could be 9ft deep. We aren't sure because we can't see the bottom. My husband is starting to joke that he wants to stock the pool with trout so he can go fishing and then we don't have to clean it.
    Thanks for all the help!
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    I think he'll be slightly underwhelmed with the "fishing pool" if he ever fished while in Alaska... :~}

    Better to swim in it.

    Is the electricity on at the house? The pump and filter will need to be running while you clear the pool.
    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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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    frogabog - (love, love, love the name btw) The electricity is on at the house. We think we have the filter running now, but we aren't sure. We had an appointment with the pool company that the bank had hired - we just wanted him to show us how to work the pool and we were going to maintain it from that point on but he never showed up and won't return our phone calls so we are pretty much moving levers around trying to figure it out on our own (I admit it is more my husband moving levers around while I yell at him that we need to hire someone before he breaks it but hey - it is a learning process). I'm wondering now if we need to check the filter - but I think everything is ok there. The first time we looked at the house the pool was clear and absolutely beautiful (and that was on 1 Aug). When we were there on Monday it was a little cloudy, but today was swamp land. I didn't realize they could go that bad that quick!
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    I think you should ask the bank for an allowance to have the pool cleaned up. Get an estimate from a different pool service to clean it up and use it for leverage with the bank. The pool was clear when you looked at it and most real estate contracts give you 5 days before closing to make sure it is still in the same condition. I would rather shock it myself than have a pool company do it for me but it is still an expense and trouble. If they bite, you will have money for a test kit, bleach and something for your trouble. You might want to make sure they understand if this isn't handled asap the pool could have permanent plaster damage.
    10,800 gallons Gunite/Plaster
    Hayward 244t 24" Sand Filter with Zeo
    1 1/2 HP Challenger
    Digital Pool Pilot DIG-220 SC-48
    Located in NOLA

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    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    TY gillamsgirl...

    I was 16, needed an outdoor school counselor name and since frogs live in bogs... shrug. I wear a couple permanently now but these babies live in trees and never need to be fed. :~}

    What happened with your pool is they stopped chlorinating, and an algae bloom is now in full force. Yep, it can happen fast.

    While we know you have algae, the CYA test that you get tomorrow will tell us how much chlorine it will take to get to shock level. The ph is also important to know before starting. So after you post the test results we can get you going with shocking it.

    Pool store results are not adequate for the shocking process however, so please take our advice and get a FAD-DPD test kit. Did I mention how close TFTestkits is to you? Fortunate indeed, they ship fast anyway.

    Watch the filter pressure. A backwash is also probably a good idea to start and it'll show you what the clean running pressure is. The clean running pressure vs the rise will tell you when to backwash again. Wish I had actually done this w/sand filter so I could help explain it. Sorry.

    Stock up on bleach, regular unscented standard 6% bleach. Walmart has a good price on their great value brand. Check the pool tools at the house, there should be a pool brush but if not, get one of those too.
    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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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    I will definately be buying lots of bleach, and I have already emailed our realator about the pool, mainly because they shouldn't be paying someone when they aren't doing their job. And of course now we have a lovely flood warning so I am sure that is going to be a great help with the algae problem!
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    I am planning on getting the test kit - unfortunately I have to wait until we are moving in the house (the hotel doesn't allow us to use their address for shipping stuff).
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

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    Optica's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    I looked at your pics and you have a very nice backyard with nice sized pool. it will look great when sparkling clean.

    Just some questions:
    1. Did the previous owner leave any pool tools such as leaf net, pool brushes, or pool chemicals?
    2. I see floating chlorinator in the water, find any chlorine tablets around? because of this..you will want to make sure the pool store or you (when you get your test kit) tests for CYA level and post the results along with the other pool levels.
    3. Do you see where the slide gets its water from? a hose hooked to the house of from the pool pump?
    4. Can you tell if there is an automatic pool cleaner in the pool anywhere? I know you cant see to the bottom but maybe some hoses floating or partially visible. look around the skimmer or the side walls of the pool.

    The valve controls for your filter system are very common. I will try to explain:
    The pipes in front of the pump going into the pump are the pump vacuum (supply) lines coming from the pool. Water comes from the pool to the pump through these pipes. The hand valve in front of the pump selects the source of where the water is coming from, one pipe would come from the skimmer (square opening on side of pool at waterline). The other pipe is either from your main drain at the bottom of pool or a dedicated pool cleaner line (why i was asking if you saw a pool cleaner). The valve selects one or the other or maybe both at the same time if you put the handle in the middle position.

    The water goes from the pump to the filter. you have a sand filter which is common. the valve control on top of the filter selects the mode that the filter water flow is in. There should be positions for the valve called "filter" which is the normal position used when cleaning your pool and day to day use. Another position should be labeled "backwash". this reverses the flow through the sand inside the filter to clean all the dirt trapped in the sand and send the dirty water out through another pipe that I cannot see in your photos. it may be on the other side of you filter. If you see another pipe that just stops and is not capped, this is probably your waste line and is where the water would come out. Usually you connect a temporary hose to it and drain the water out to curb, but it might be plumbed all the way to your curb already..don't know as I can't see the pipe and how its finished.


    There may be other positions on the filter valve such as "circulate" which bypasses the filter. "closed" closes off the input pipe to the filter and "winterize" drains the filter for winterizing the pool equipment. Only change valve positions when the pump is off. You can get the model number and manuf name of the filter and probably download the manual for it from the net.

    The clean water from the filter flows out the pipes on the pool side of the filter and can go back to the pool through the two pipes shown with another valve used to select which one. One pipe should be connected to the returns ( the small openings called jets on the side walls in the pool), The other pipe might be for a fountain, dedicated pressure side pool cleaner or possible the pool slide (why I asked about that above).

    Start stocking up on plain liquid bleach ( no scents or thickeners added). If you haven't already, try to get everything out of the pool such as leaves, twigs, dead animals... that you can before you start. Once you start adding bleach to start the shock process, you will want to brush and vacuum the pool daily.

    If you can get estimates of pool depth and dimensions, we can calculate volume and once you have test results, we can recommend shock levels and other things to help you. You may try to get pool depth by using tape measure inserted till it hits the bottom at shallow end and deep end. or maybe your pool leaf net pole used as a measuring stick.

    Welcome to TFP and we'll have you fixed up soon, but have patience. As others have already told you, the shock process can take some time and there are some strict criteria you need to pass before you are done. Read up on pool school, especially the shocking your pool section.
    ___________________________________________________
    12,000 Gal IGP, Gunite/Plaster, Pentair DE & Pump, Heliocol Solar, K-2006, BBB'd & Borated.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Use the home address. They will leave the shipment on the porch. :~}
    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.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by frogabog
    Use the home address. They will leave the shipment on the porch. :~}
    Have you introduced yourself to the neighbors? Maybe one of them would keep an eye out for the delivery, or even allow you to mail to their address. They are probably as eager as you are to have that pool cleaned up.
    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.

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    I got the best birthday present of all today - we got a phone call from the realtor saying that the pool company spent all day yesterday and today out working on the pool and when we went buy the house tonight the pool was no longer green/black swamp - it was a cloudy blue. I am a very happy girl right now. I will be ordering the testing wednesday - can anyone tell from my pictures where we would hook the vacuum up at. We were looking today and couldn't figure it out. The previous owners took everything for the pool but the vacuum hose - so we have slowly been buying everything we think we might need. If anyone has suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thank you so much
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Optica - We aren't sure where the slide gets the water from, but on the same board as the on/off for the pump there is another control type panel that plugs in - we think it might work the slide. The hose for the slide goes down into the concrete. We can't find a manual for the filter and the realator isn't sure either - the pool company who works with it all the time will not return my phone calls - I tried to set an appointment with them to come some us how to work the pool and I was willing to pay them but apparently my money isn't good enough for them! My husband has figured out some of it but we are clueless. We bought the vacuum head today - and we bought some of the tabs for the floater. We have also bought the skimmer nets and scrubbers for when we take over the house on Thursday. I plan on going out everyday to keep an eye on the pool, but because we are in a small motel room with 2 big dogs space is limited on what we can purchase right now.
    30,000(ish) gallons
    SPARCO - High rate sand filter
    In-Ground, Tiled sides
    Unknown for everything else.

  16. Back To Top    #16
    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool Owner

    Whoohoo! Happy Birthday!

    That's great to hear. At least you didn't have to do the initial work.

    Now, with that said I just want to make sure you understand what has happened and how it plays into your future with the pool.

    The pool company has shocked the pool. Meaning, they have added chlorine in high amounts and started killing the algae. Now, the process we use here for shocking is entirely different than pool companies and the mainstream pool industry uses and it involves maintaining chlorine at shock level consistently throughout the shocking process. Your pool has had a one or maybe two time application of shock product and is in all likelihood not being monitored by the pool company for FC levels to be maintained. If you were shocking it yourself, we would ask you to test the chlorine regularly (at first, every hour) and add bleach/chlorine as needed to maintain shock level.

    We do it this way because it works. There's a fairly decent chance that unless you take control of the shocking that it will fail, and you'll end up back where you started. If the pool company is going to come back out in a day or so and do their thing, you probably don't have to worry so much but if not... and it's being left alone again you can easily take control when you get your kit and finish the shocking.

    What you're aiming for is a nice clear sparkling pool. Right now the signs you're seeing is dead algae in the water, that is why it's cloudy. Totally normal, and a good sign. The filter has to clear it, but it also has to stay at shock level to do this with much effectiveness. Falling below shock level allows the algae to re-grow which will also hinder the filtration.

    Additionally, as the filter catches the dead algae, it will become clogged and need to be backwashed frequently. Check the filter pressure when you go by the house, backwash as needed.

    It still is not a bad idea to go and have the water tested at a pool store in the meantime.

    I just saw your latest post, and want to caution you about the tablets you've purchased. Don't use them till we get a CYA result for your water. If it's already very high, adding the tablets will raise it more (tablets and dichlor shock product contain CYA). The only way to lower CYA is to drain and refill, so WAIT on the tablets. If you want to add chlorine, use regular bleach instead.
    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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