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Thread: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

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    New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Hi, I just started renting a house that has a pool, and I've never had to take care of one before. I've been all over this site, read the pool school, but I would really like a step by step. I should probably also state that at present, the pool is being drained and will be refilled as fats as possible from the hose... there was an entire ecosystem of tadpoles, frogs, and several different kinds of bugs in the pool, which is why I drained it. I'm not even sure if the pump/filter is in good working order. My question is, after I drain and clean the pool, what is the step by step process I should go through to have the pool safe to swim in (hopefully by this weekend, 110 degrees here)?
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Welcome to TFP!

    1) Purchase a top quality test kit.
    2) Test TA, and CH of your fill water. Post those results for additional comments.
    --Wait until the pool is full and the pump is running.
    3) The first evening after the pool is full and the pump is running add 2 ppm of chlorine.
    4) Start raising CYA by adding enough to raise CYA level to about 30.
    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: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Thank you. Right now I don't have the extra cash on hand for the top quality kit... would the one from WalMart be ok for the interim? Also, the previous renters seem to have left some chemicals from last season, are these ok to use?
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Tower
    Thank you. Right now I don't have the extra cash on hand for the top quality kit... would the one from WalMart be ok for the interim? Also, the previous renters seem to have left some chemicals from last season, are these ok to use?
    The test kit will pay for itself before the end of summer. One algae outbreak, or one slick-talking salesman at the pool store is all it takes.

    As for the old chemicals. it depends on what they are. Read the labels. If you can't decipher it, post what they say, brand name, product, etc, or a picture, and someone here can tell you if it's worth keeping or something to take to the next hazmat collection.
    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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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Ha! I was just over there and I forgot to look... it may very well be that all the bottles I saw were empty, but there were some for calcium hardness, and alkalinity up... I'll read them when I'm over there tomorrow.

    One other question... I am filling the pool right now with two hoses... it's going to take quite a while. I was wondering if it would be worth it to shock it a bit while it's filling, as there are already frogs and toads trying to make the pool their new home.

    I also wanted to know if a solar cover for the pool would increase the breakdown of chlorine by the sun?

    The last time I opened a pool, my father did all the work and I was 13... I wish I'd paid attention. I don't even know what to do with the filter...
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    If it was me, I'd check pH and start adjusting it while it's filling, and add some chlorine just to keep it clear. With the hoses running in there, you should have enough circulation to get it mixed well.

    A solar cover will reduce chlorine breakdown. It's the UV light that does it. Block the light, stop the breakdown.
    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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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Thank you. I won't be back out to the house until tomorrow afternoon. As I don't quite yet have my wife on board with the BBB method, I'll be the one pouring the bleach into the pool. This leads me to another question...

    My return jets seem to be missing their eyeballs... where can I find replacements, since I'm trying to avoid the pool store at all costs? Are they pretty standard size? And speaking of return jets... How should I go about cleaning the return hoses from the filter? Is it ok to disconnect them from the pool for a while? Before the pool was completely drained I ran some hose water in through the pump and set the filter to 'recirculate,' the greenest water I'd ever seen came out of the returns...

    This site is very well put together. I commend you all for the information you share, it's been informative, and I will put it to good use.
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    You can order eyeballs online. You need to check and see if you need just the eyeball or the whole fitting. Either way, they're not that much.

    You can disconnect them and run some chlorine water through them or just raise the FC to 10 ppm once you can run the pump and that should take care of cleaning them out.

    I'd personally plug the return fitting in the pool, remove the return line, and once it got full enough to run the pump, I'd run some water through the pump and filter to clean it out and then hook the return line back up anc unplug the return. That would save you from having stuff in the filter and lines dumped into the pool.
    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: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Halfway through filling the pool and the water got shut off. (I'm just moving into the house, the water isn't in my name yet.) I paid my new neighbor 75 bucks to let me run the hose from his house, but I didn't want to leave it on overnight, so I have a submersible pump in the pool to try to create some sort of circulation. I tested my pH with a cheap drop based kit from WalMart... it said 7.6. I'm not sure how accurate it was, but I left it alone for now. I did dump a bottle (1.43 gal) of bleach into the water, since there was a bunch of dirt and possibly algae at the bottom of the pool. I brushed the entire pool and left for the night.

    The pool chemicals are Pro Team brand, I have half a jug of CYA (powder) and half a jug of calcium up... It's a vinyl liner, my understanding is that I shouldn't have to do anything with calcium, correct? I feel I should also mention that these chemicals were stored in a shed outdoors, I don't know for how long, but it's rather warm in there... ~90 degrees with the summer heat. Worth keeping, or no?

    Speaking of CYA, is it safe to assume that there is zero CYA in my pool right now, since I'm using tap water? If that is the case, and the powder is ok to use, should I wait until the pool is full (should be tomorrow) and the filter is running until I add CYA? I have enough bleach atm the keep adding it if need be.
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Tower
    Halfway through filling the pool and the water got shut off. (I'm just moving into the house, the water isn't in my name yet.) I paid my new neighbor 75 bucks to let me run the hose from his house, but I didn't want to leave it on overnight, so I have a submersible pump in the pool to try to create some sort of circulation. I tested my pH with a cheap drop based kit from WalMart... it said 7.6. I'm not sure how accurate it was, but I left it alone for now. I did dump a bottle (1.43 gal) of bleach into the water, since there was a bunch of dirt and possibly algae at the bottom of the pool. I brushed the entire pool and left for the night.

    The pool chemicals are Pro Team brand, I have half a jug of CYA (powder) and half a jug of calcium up... It's a vinyl liner, my understanding is that I shouldn't have to do anything with calcium, correct? I feel I should also mention that these chemicals were stored in a shed outdoors, I don't know for how long, but it's rather warm in there... ~90 degrees with the summer heat. Worth keeping, or no?

    Speaking of CYA, is it safe to assume that there is zero CYA in my pool right now, since I'm using tap water? If that is the case, and the powder is ok to use, should I wait until the pool is full (should be tomorrow) and the filter is running until I add CYA? I have enough bleach atm the keep adding it if need be.
    You have things figured correctly!

    Hold off adding the CYA until the pump is running. I have no idea if it breaks down in heat. You might want to shoot a PM to chemgeek, he'd probably know. The Calcium Up should be fine, and although the liner doesn't care, low CH is supposed to cause foaming. Never having suffered from low Calcium, I couldn't say for sure...
    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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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    OK, I have to admit that out of sheer laziness I'm asking these questions here... I'm sure they've all been answered elsewhere on the site. Let's assume that my pool is finally full, and the pump/filter is working as it is supposed to. Actually, I might need help to get there... once I have the correct amount of water in the pool, what steps should I run the filter through? The options on it are filter, recirculate, waste, backwash, and rinse.
    NOW, let's assume everything is working as intended. I have a few more questions...

    1) In regard to CYA.. is it ok to dissolve it in a 5 gallon bucket and add it to the pool in front of the return, or does it HAVE to be introduced through the skimmer?
    2) How long should I wait to test for FC after adding bleach into the pool?
    3) How long should I wait after adding chemicals to the pool before it's safe to swim? I imagine this might be determined by my test kit, in which case this is more or less an extension of question number 2.
    4) I think I've read this somewhere but not sure where (so a link would be just fine) but what affect does TA have on the chemicals in the pool?
    5) Space reserved for further questions which I am sure are forthcoming.
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Richard has this under control but I'll chime in with a few answers for you....
    1) We prefer to add CYA to a sock or knee-hi stocking and tie it so that a return jet hits it. That way you can know when it is all dissolved, no guessing, and you can clean the filter or skimmer with no worries about losing CYA just added. I keep good records of all additions of CYA (or anything else). CYA is a bit tricky in that it may be there and working but not show up on test, so sometimes you have to know the "calculated value" of CYA is different than the "tested value". Example, I tested CYA at 25-ish today so I added 3 trichlor tablets to the auto-chlorinator. The "calculated" CYA will be 30 when they are dissolved but I might not test that even a week or 2 from now. But I use that calculated value as soon as they are dissolved. [Yes, I know 30 is too low for CYA for Texas but I have a big vacation coming up and I'm saving my major CYA additions for then]
    2) Let the pool circulate for about an hour before testing FC after addition. You can speed that up by brushing with a Wall Whale brush to move water around for good mixing.
    3) Again, about an hour, but you can speed that up if you distribute the chemicals around the pool and brush. Still, about a half an hour in that case. I am move careful with letting kids or guests swim than I am with my own swimming. I am more careful with acid additions than I might be with chlorine. And I always add acid and chlorine to different ends of the pool! They don't play well together. So, if I had a bunch of kids in the pool and testing said I needed more chlorine, I'd call the kids out of the pool, add the chlorine and brush A LOT, break out some ice cream and wait 30 min before letting the kids back in the pool. If I was shocking, I'd add the chlorine and come back in a hour to see how it did, if it needed more.
    4) TA is important to pH in the pool, also to the Saturation Index which along with CH and pH tells you about scaling or pitting problems you might get. TA too high and the pH climbs quickly. TA too low and pH is not stable, tending to drop dramatically (though I think pH can also rise dramatically with low TA under certain conditions like lots of aeration, waterfalls, etc -- I am beyond my knowledge here so let's ask someone who actually knows)
    5) ask away. Someone is always around who will try to help!
    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: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Just a quick update... I know this isn't as exciting as a baqua conversion, but I thought maybe people might be watching this thread...

    There is a hole.... somewhere... in the liner. The pool is filled to about 10 inches below the returns, and no amount of hose water is making it rise any more...

    I do have an inquiry about this, because what would one of my posts be without questions right? If the pool will fill to a certain level and not get any fuller, is it safe to assume that the hole/leak is at the same level as the water? Or can the hole still be under the water somewhere? Before the pool was drained and then placed into my rented possession, the swamp that was in it was at the same level as the water is now... which leads me to think that the water level won't drop anymore. Next and final question of the night... what's the best way to fix the leak?
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Given the info you have I'd have to say the leak is at the water level. If a water hose won't fill it any more it's a pretty good leak and should be easy to find.

    Assuming it's just a liner leak and it's not a seam, a patch should hold just fine.

    Are there any protrusions through the liner at the waterline?
    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: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Ok, so it's been a few weeks.. here's what's been going on:

    The water level held for a while at one spot, making me assume that it was a slow leak and perhaps patchable. After several failed attempts at trying to find the leak, the water level dropped dramatically again. So I decided to buy a new liner.

    The best prices I found online were at discountpoolkits.com: a 30 ft round liner with shipping for about 340.00 USD.

    On further inspection of the pool, I found a large crack on the threads of the skimmer, where someone had tried to patch it before. So, 30 dollars and a day later I had a new skimmer from Amazon on my doorstep. This last weekend I tore out the old liner (pain in the neck) and put in the new one (less of a pain) with some friends. Don't worry, I cooked them some baby back ribs and provided beer as well.

    The pool is now full, the filter backwashed and rinsed, and running on filter. I'm about to use my K-2006 test kit for the first time to see where I'm at for levels. I will post the results shortly.

    As a side note, I did notice that my filter has a slight leak... it's a multiport filter.. I'm assuming there's a gasket between the handle and the body of the filter? If there's not, there's going to be.
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Here are the results:

    FC: 0
    CC: 0
    pH: 7.5
    TA: 90
    CH: 100
    CYA: 0

    pH and TA surpised me a bit; they're right on and the water just came out of the hose... Now my question: is there a way to anticipate how much adding CYA will lower the pH? And should I add borax in anticipation of this, or is it better to wait until the CYA dissolves and then test pH again?
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    It may be that the pH will rise with time as entrained CO2 gasses out, as water mains are under pressure and your pool is not. Just guessing based on old fish tank experiences. So that low-ish pH is probably not stable.

    You can find The Effects of Adding Chemicals at the bottom of the Pool Calculator.

    I suggest that you leave out the borax until all other things are stable. What is important now is FC and CYA. You can get what you need in a few different ways. The simplest thing is to add each chemical separately in the quantities you need, then test afterwards to know that it is there. If you have combination chemicals that you have on hand and want to use, that can be done but you may have to add some of this and some of that and still buy the separate chemicals anyhow. Do you have bleach and stabilizer?

    Again, use the Pool Calculator.... get familiar with it for it is your new best friend.
    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: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    After I posted the question about CYA lowering pH, I did notice the part of the pool calculator that tells me the answer lol. I do have some trichlor tabs that my wife bought before I convinced her that bleach is essentially the same thing as liquid chlorine, so I'm going to use the tabs for now to try to get at least some CYA in the water. I also have some stabilizer in the shed, but since I just started renting the house this month I'm not sure how long it's been in there. And of course, I have bleach.

    The plan for now is to use the trichlor tonight, and add some stabilizer tomorrow. I'll test CYA again next week.

    As for the chlorine, I'm hoping the trichlor will do the trick for sanitation until the CYA level goes up, because I really don't want to be adding a bottle of bleach each day to the pool... trying to save as many pennies as I can.
    21150 gal AG round pool; sand filter, 1.5 hp pump

    Better to know that you don't know and ask, than to keep silent and discover your ignorance later.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    The triclor picks are slow dissolving so it will take a little bit of Time to get the fc up to a safe level but by then you could get some critters in the pool....if it was me I would use the pool calc and bring my fc up to atleast 3 ppm with bleach...it is better to spend a few dollars in bleach rather than having to shock the pool because of a algae outbreak.....imo.....Mike
    18x52 intex ultra frame pool 6981 gallons, 1 HP LL pump with 19 in sand filter,BBB method,borax 50ppm
    leslies DPD test kit + fas-dpd chlorine test kit + borates test strips
    thru wall skimmer,hard plumbed with 2 returns 1 1/2 sch 40 pvc
    1 large fountain 1 inch sch 40 pvc,shut off ball valves on all

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    Re: New Pool Maintainer, need advice

    Can you tell us if there is any dichor or cal-hypo in the shed? Would be a powder, might be in bucket or in packets.

    Dichlor will have CYA and FC and dissolves very fast compared to tablets.

    Cal-hypo has CH and FC and would need to have CYA added.

    Both need to be brushed in so they don't sit on the floor.
    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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