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Thread: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

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    Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Hi everyone,

    I have been reading this forum, familiarizing myself with Pool School & BBB. I have a nasty swamp of a pool that I want to clear by July 14th for a party (do y'all think this is reasonable?). I just received my TF-100 Kit in the mail today and am hoping for some guidance and advice. I just bought 30 (182 oz) bottles of Clorox from Costco, I've read the sticky about how to turn my swamp into an oasis and have a couple questions:

    1-Which measurements should I test the water for at the starting point? From what I've read, right now I only need to be testing FC (which I'm assuming is zero) & CYA, since all the other measurements will be thrown off and need to adjusted later? Or am I mistaken? Should I do a full reading on everything?

    2-I have the rest of the weekend to focus on attacking my swamp, but have to be at work Monday...is this going to be okay? Will it cause a setback?

    Here's a little visual of what I'm talking about:
    [attachment=0:3pdw3dje]Sat6.30-4.30p.jpg[/attachment:3pdw3dje]
    Thanks in advance!
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    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Welcome to TFP!

    It is important to check PH and CYA, and you might as well test TA as well before you start. PH and TA don't need to be perfect by any means, but if they are too far out of range they need to be adjusted before you start shocking.

    If you can put in some time tomorrow, you can probably get everything under control and then keep up with it two or three times a day after that.

    The key first step is to get as much debris out of the pool as you possibly can.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    I'd do a full test, in part to get used to it, but there could be something that we need to know. pH could be weird and need adjusting before you really start on other things though that is not typical. You REALLY want to know the CYA level. We can assume that FC is 0 based on the green color!

    You will need to start a log book, entering all your test data and what you add to the pool and what you expect from that addition. This will help you to keep track of things and to understand how it all fits together. I do a spreadsheet that has all the test data at the top of the column, then lower down what I add and what the goal is.

    Some things don't change too quickly on their own, like CH and TA and CYA, unless you are doing something that affects them. But they will drift over time so you will want to test everything on some schedule to keep ahead of that drifting. I'd also test my tap water TA and CH, since if it is super high you will want to know that eventually.

    In general, you will first see if the pool needs to be partially drained to correct super high CYA. No point adding chemicals if you need to drain water and refill. If CYA is super low, you need to get it up to about 30 before shocking. Then you make sure that pH is in a reasonable range, correcting that if necessary since super low pH is a problem, not so much so for high pH but still you want it in a reasonable range. Then, you are ready to start to work.

    Before you add chlorine, push a leaf rake around the pool to see if there are any solids down there that you can remove. You will be working blind, but whatever you pull up means that much less chlorine you need to add. Takes a lot of bleach to liquefy leaves or dead mice or whatever. My leaf rake has a hard edge like a dust pan, so that edge scoops when you push it across the pool.

    Then you may want to use the vacuum to pull out any other solids that escape the leaf rake net. You may be able to vac to waste and do a partial drain on the pool at the same time, so if you need to drain and replace, consider this.

    After you begin the chlorine, you will need to brush the pool, a lot, to uncover the algae beneath the algae. I suggest a Wall Whale brush for this, makes brushing soooo much easier.
    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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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Step One: test results.

    You need to know what the CYA level is to determine shock level, and whether or not it's already too high. In which case, draining is indicated. I'll also bet - and I'll give good good odds - that your CH reading is going to be astronomical. Again, a partial, or maybe even a total drain, might be indicated before you start pourring expensive chemicals in the water. As an aside, use a 10ml sample for the CH test, and each drop counts as 25. You don't want to use up all your R-0012 the first day! Another testing tip you may have read already is the CYA test. Take your reading, pour the sample back in the mixing bottle, shake it again, take another reading, and so on. Until you're confident of a number that keeps coming up.

    If, as I suspect, your CH reading is close to 4 figures, test your tap water, too. Just for an example, assume pool CH is 1000. You'd think that draining 60% of the water will get things down to 400. But wait!! Tap water is 200. (.40*1000) + (.60*200) = 520. Not what you're aiming for, at all. Luckily, your fill water will have zero CYA, so the number crunching there is straightforward.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Ok I just ran a full test, here are the results:

    FC: 0
    TC: 0
    CC: 0
    pH: 8.2+ (it was darker pink than the 8.2 reading)
    TA: 320
    CH: 925
    CYA: OFF THE CHARTS!!!
    I even did the diluted version of the CYA test and it was beyond the 100 mark! So looks like I'll need to do a drain, right?

    Do I need to adjust the pH at this time? What about the way high TA & CH?
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    I see a drain and refill in your future. There's no point adjusting anything until after the fresh water has been added, you'll just be pumping pool chemicals down the sewer.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Just tested my tap water:
    pH: 7.5
    CH: 200
    Does this affect anything?

    Also, do I need to do an entire or partial drain?
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    I did a little web searching. For starters, you'll get in big trouble if you empty your pool into the gutter. It has to go in the sewer: https://clients.comcate.com/faq.php?id=90&faqId=7201

    It also looks like they don't bill your sewer based on your water use. Whew! And the water costs is not too bad. If you drain everything, even at the highest tier, it's only going to be a little over $60. http://www.cityofhenderson.com/utility_ ... /rates.php

    The question is how much to drain...? Your CYA is at least 200, so you'd need to lose a minimum of 75% of the water to get to 50. What if CYA is 250? Then you're up to 80%. So for demonstration, let's say you replace 80% of the water. (.2*925) + (.8*200) = 345 on the CH. That is acceptable.

    My opinion, by the time you lose 75 or 80%, you might as well lose it all. Your CYA could be higher than 250. The only exception would be if you have a vinyl liner in that pool. It doesn't look like it, but it's possible. If you do have a vinyl liner, you'll want to leave some water in the bottom.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Yikes! A total drain?! No vinyl liner, so we could theoretically do it all at once, but my concern about this is the plaster being exposed in this Vegas heat...we've been around 108* and the temps are holding steady for the rest of the week. Should I do the drain in increments?
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Quote Originally Posted by vegaspoolgirl
    Yikes! A total drain?! No vinyl liner, so we could theoretically do it all at once, but my concern about this is the plaster being exposed in this Vegas heat...we've been around 108* and the temps are holding steady for the rest of the week. Should I do the drain in increments?
    Well.... here's an idea.

    Buy a BIG cheap tarp from Harbor Freight or the like, or maybe a giant piece of visqueen. Start filling the fresh water into the tarp as you pump out the old green water. Eventually you'll have a thin layer of green water in the pool with a plastic bag full of fresh water in it. Then just push the edge of the tarp into the pool and let it empty. Haul it out, let it dry, and fold it up. If your pool is 16 x 24, and 8' deep, your tarp would need to be at least 32 x 40 feet. A tarp that size would run you in the neighborhood of $100.

    The problem with partial drains is that it's incremental. Say you lose 25% each time.
    1st drain, 75% original water.
    2nd drain 56%
    3rd drain 42%
    4th drain 31%

    You've replaced 4 fourths of your pool water - equal to all of it - and really only replaced 69%.

    PS, it you do try the tarp method, tape it to the deck with duct tape or something and let it all bunch up in the middle, it will inflate as it fills. And you won't have it slip in accidentally and ruin everything. And take pictures.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Last night the pump wouldn't turn on! But we got it fixed and now we are in business & I've started to drain/simultaneously fill the pool. [The tarp idea sounds cool, but a little intimidating and the shape of our pool isn't rectangular, so to find a tarp that big would be a task in and of itself.] So for now, I'm waiting to get fresh water in the pool & will update with pics & stats once we have new water to work with
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    We are back in business! We were having motor/pump issues and thru trial and error, and much frustration, finally ended up buying an entirely new motor/pump combo. Just installed it last night, everything's cured, and we are going to start clearing our swamp.

    New CYA: 65!!!
    pH: 8.2 +

    My question...do we need to get the pH to an acceptable level before starting to bleach the water? Or can we move ahead now? Thanks!
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Quote Originally Posted by vegaspoolgirl
    We are back in business! We were having motor/pump issues and thru trial and error, and much frustration, finally ended up buying an entirely new motor/pump combo. Just installed it last night, everything's cured, and we are going to start clearing our swamp.

    New CYA: 65!!!
    pH: 8.2 +

    My question...do we need to get the pH to an acceptable level before starting to bleach the water? Or can we move ahead now? Thanks!
    Yes. Because your pH readings will be suspect while FC is high. Adjust pH with acid. Give it half an hour or so to mix. A little brushing will help. Go have a drink while it's mixing. Recheck it. If it's good - bombs away! You won't be rechecking pH again until the shock process is complete and FC has drifted down below 10.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Gotcha. Thanks! We just added the recommended amount of muriatic acid, per the Pool Calculator. I am SO excited to start shocking the heck out of the pool. My parents will be in town in 2 weeks and I want sparkling water for them when they get here

    Here's a new picture from this afternoon--not much different, but wanted to post a new base-line:[attachment=0:29on77pc]2-Sat7.21-3.00p.jpg[/attachment:29on77pc]
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    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Quote Originally Posted by vegaspoolgirl
    Gotcha. Thanks! We just added the recommended amount of muriatic acid, per the Pool Calculator. I am SO excited to start shocking the heck out of the pool. My parents will be in town in 2 weeks and I want sparkling water for them when they get here

    Here's a new picture from this afternoon--not much different, but wanted to post a new base-line:[attachment=0:30flu9g6]2-Sat7.21-3.00p.jpg[/attachment:30flu9g6]
    Excellent! We like pictures!

    With diligence, you can be posting one of these:
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Test Results 7/21 4:10pm:
    FC: 17
    CC: 0

    I am very surprised the FC isn't much lower...I thought it would be eaten up by the algae more than that! Am I doing something wrong?
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    You will want to keep the pool in circulation mode while you are shocking, and you will want to keep brushing and checking the bottom of the pool for any solid debris that you can scoop up with a leaf rake. The more solids you have out of the pool the faster this ought to go.

    Re check the FC in an hour, then another hour, to see how it is declining.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    Quote Originally Posted by anonapersona
    You will want to keep the pool in circulation mode while you are shocking, and you will want to keep brushing and checking the bottom of the pool for any solid debris that you can scoop up with a leaf rake. The more solids you have out of the pool the faster this ought to go.

    Re check the FC in an hour, then another hour, to see how it is declining.
    Thank you...we do have the filter running constantly and have been brushing the walls. Prior to starting, we scooped out all the solid debris we could with our leaf rake and feel like we got it all--there wasn't that much to start with. We will recheck in an hour...thanks again! Hope to start seeing improvements soon

    Edit: One more question right now: Should we let our pool vacuum run? Or just use skimmer/main drain suction for now? TIA!
    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    My pool cleaner instructions say to remove it from the pool while shocking, so you might want to check that.
    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: Newbie Needs Help With Swamp!

    I am very discouraged...

    Despite following the shock method explicitly, our pool still looks like this:
    [attachment=0:3btk7csd]10-Sun7.22-3.10p.jpg[/attachment:3btk7csd]

    Test Results:
    Yesterday--
    • 3:25 pm-FC 0
      4:20 pm-FC 17
      5:45 pm-FC 27
      7:10 pm-FC 22
      8:30 pm-FC 19
      10:15 pm-FC 22


    Today--
    • 11:35 am-FC 15
      1:50 pm-FC 19
      3:15 pm-FC 19


    What are we doing wrong? The water isn't changing at all, yet we are maintaining the water at shock level. Why isn't the chlorine being burned off quicker if there is so much algae?
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    17,000gal in-ground plaster pool--Pentair Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter--1.5 HP Hayward EnergyFlo RS Pump

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