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Thread: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

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    I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    I own an Intex above ground pool - that I purchased from Walmart this year. It is an Ultra Frame Pool - that measures 22' x 52". According to the box - it holds approx 10,472 gals and uses cartridge filters. It came with a Krystal Clear Filter Pump, and by recommendation by another shopper, I purchased an additional Krystal Clear Saltwater System pump. I was assured by this person that if I had a saltwater system, I would never have to add any chemicals or do any maintenance other than keep salt up to the correct level - my life would be perfect and stress free. If I haven't mentioned by now - I am a new pool owner and obviously very gullible. Upon hearing this person's testimony, my kids and hubby said - let's get a pool, it will be easy.

    Ok, so now that I have laid out the background - let's begin with my issue. For the first 2 months - everything was wonderful, no troubles. Then.....we went on vacation for 3 weeks. I didn't worry about the pool because I had the reg pump running 12 hrs a day, and the saltwater pump running 6 hrs a day. Well while we were gone, we had severe storms, lost power, and my pool just sat there. I live in SW Missouri, and we are very humid. The algae grows on house siding here - so needless to say - we returned home to a nasty, slimy, very very green pond. Now, here is where my ignorance just shines like a beacon. I went to Walmart - the pool experts - and asked for advise. They said put this hth From Green to Blue stuff in there....and in 24 hrs your pool will be sparkling clean! I said great - it's only $15 what a deal.

    So I went home - tested my water (with the little test strips that came with my pool) - got my pH and TA to normal limits with Muriatic Acid, and then added the stuff to my skimmer just like it was directed. It worked somewhat...I had nasty clumps of algae on the floor and some beyond nasty stuff floating on the surface. I vacuumed it up, and still had algae. So, I went back to the experts at Walmart...I know - it just gets embarrassing - so, they tell me to get this hth Super shock 'n swim and just add it in until it goes away. I put in a total of 4 lbs of this magical stuff in there - and nothing changed!

    So, I got a little smarter and looked on the internet and found you! Aaaaa...that's the angels singing...and I started to read. I discovered that the "experts" at Walmart may not have been as educated as I originally assumed (who would have thought!) Anyway, I bought a test kit (hth 6 way test) and tested my water. My CYA test was a miserable fail! My water was crystal clear (said I had to add the indicator until the black dot disappeared). Well when your water is crystal clear - that dot NEVER goes away. So, I went to the pool calculator and it said to drain out 56% of my water. I immediately drained it to about 50% and added 3 gals of 6% liquid bleach ( I know this was overkill - but I was desperate). This morning, I tested my water again (with the 6 way test kit) and here are my results:

    Cl - more than 5 (that is the max level it has - but I am not at school bus yellow) - I am not sure if this is FC, CC, or TC (not sure how to tell)
    pH - 7.8
    TA - 150
    CH - 290
    I did not do another CYA test - because I have not added more water to my pool yet. I only have the ability to test 2 times.

    My water now is a little clowdy (but I can see the bottom) - with clumps of brown stuff on the bottom (that I can't vacuum up - it goes right through the vacuum filter - and cartridge filter)
    So, now that you know a little about my problem, could someone please help me get my pool back to correct working/swimming order? Thanks!
    Brianna
    Brianna
    10,500 gallon - SWG - above ground vinyl pool with cartridge filters

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Welcome

    When I stop laughing at your great title and actually read your post, I will get back to you

    OK, I am back. I do not know much about the Intex equipment, but do know that if pool store employees can not be trusted to accurate advice, then I am not sure what to think about Walmart employees

    You certainly got some bad advice, but have now seen the light. Have you read through Pool School yet to get an understanding of the pool's chemistry and the terminology?

    I am a little confused why you think the calculator said to drain water ... something must not have been correct because if the CYA test stayed clear, that means you have 0 stabilizer (CYA) ... so no need to drain.
    Have you refilled the pool yet?
    Is the pump running? (BTW, those cartridge filters are horribly small ... an upgrade to the sand filter would do you well in the future)

    You certainly need to go through the Shocking Your Pool process. Some other related articles with more details:
    Defeating Algae
    Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparkling Oasis

    To do that correctly, you really need to have the FAS-DPD chlorine test (or just a full good kit, the one you have is OK for some things though). I hate to tell you that you need to spend more money, but it would certainly make you better able to maintain the pool.

    As you may now realize, all the SWG does is add the chlorine (FC) for you on a daily basis. You still need to add stabilizer (CYA), and keep an eye on and adjust the pH and TA.

    Let us know if you read anything that does make sense or have any more questions.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    - read pool school, then re-read it, then print it off and read it
    - order a good drop based test kit - no strips
    - start doing tests yourself, after a while you'll start to see the action/reaction of levels and additives and you'll start to understand if your levels are A you need to add B and you'll know it does C. After a while you'll have testing procedure down to memory. Pools can be low level maintenance but never maintenance free.
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Jason:

    Not really sure how to work the quote thing - so bear with my copy and pasting...

    You certainly got some bad advice, but have now seen the light. Have you read through Pool School yet to get an understanding of the pool's chemistry and the terminology?
    ~Yes, I think so anyway. I just printed it out to make sure I have a hard copy.

    I am a little confused why you think the calculator said to drain water ... something must not have been correct because if the CYA test stayed clear, that means you have 0 stabilizer (CYA) ... so no need to drain.
    ~My CYA test says that the water should be cloudy when I mixed my pool water with the reagent - then transfer into another tube and fill that tube until the black dot on the bottom disappears. My water never clouded - so the black dot was visible... I ran out of room in the vial - the top line on the vial read 90 - so I assumed I was probably at 100 or more.

    Have you refilled the pool yet?
    ~No - I thought that since I have already drained the pool - to keep it that way - less gals to treat.

    Is the pump running? (BTW, those cartridge filters are horribly small ... an upgrade to the sand filter would do you well in the future)
    No - I drained it to half - which makes the inlet and outlet holes above the water level - therefore, cannot run the pump. We plan on investing more money into the filter system next year.

    You certainly need to go through the Shocking your pool process. Some other related articles with more details:
    ~That is where I started...there is so much information there - I was a little overwhelmed. I read it once, crossed my eyes, and went to the pool calculator.

    To do that correctly, you really need to have the FAS-DPD chlorine test (or just a full good kit, the one you have is OK for some things though). I hate to tell you that you need to spend more money, but it would certainly make you better able to maintain the pool.
    ~I wasn't sure which test kit to get. I went back to my trusted Walmart (we live in the booneys - the big city is over 1 1/2 hrs drive) and got a salt water test thing that came with 6 way strips that measure more.
    ~We have a SWG - and none of those test kits that are mentioned specifically mention SWG pools. I glanced over those links for tests - I guess I only have excuses for this question.

    As you may now realize, all the SWG does is add the chlorine (FC) for you on a daily basis. You still need to add stabilizer (CYA), and keep an eye on and adjust the pH and TA.
    ~I thought I only needed stabilizer if my water turned cloudy - from my trusted source at Walmart
    ~My pH and TA are always high. I am not sure why, I am constantly adding Muriatic Acid to lower them - at least 2x a month. Maybe that isn't a lot??

    Thanks for replying back - I look forward to more advise from the "real" experts!
    Brianna
    10,500 gallon - SWG - above ground vinyl pool with cartridge filters

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    If the CYA test is clear, then you have no stabilizer. Did you actually add any? Or use any dichlor or trichlor (pucks of granules)? If not, then it is zero.
    Good news!!! you can buy it at Walmart

    You are never going to be able to clean the pool unless you have the pump circulating the chemicals and the filter removing the "stuff".

    Fill it up and get it running.

    As I recall the "Oasis" article has much more details about how to follow the shock process ... try reading that one again.

    Almost no one can get one of the good test kits we recommend locally, they have to be ordered. Do not trust the test strips. And there is not "special" test kit for a salt water pool. You just may need to add a test to determine the salt level.

    Stabilizer protects the chlorine from the sun ... it is a MUST, especially with the small SWG that you have ... review ABC's of chemistry article.

    SWG actually cause the pH to drift up. A high TA will also make the pH drift up. It is not uncommon to have to be adding acid to lower the pH every few days. You should really be testing FC and pH almost daily.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    JB has you covered so I'll just say hi.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Brianna, don't beat yourself up over it. Most everyone here started out just like you but if you listen and follow the directions of the experts, you'll have a sparkling pool in a couple of weeks.
    10 year old 18x32 inground, vinyl liner 1 year old, 25,000 gallon Grecian, Hayward ST244 Sand Filter, 1hp Hayward pump, Diving board, Side Steps, Koolcrete decking located in middle [s:37hekvij]earth[/s:37hekvij] Georgia.

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    Not really sure how to work the quote thing - so bear with my copy and pasting...
    A few details are different - for one the key you press is labeled "quote" on the top right of the post. For another the names displayed in the quote are not linked to the original post like this video shows. But the basics of cutting and pasting tags etc is accurate.

    The other thing NOT covered is that if you have multiple people responding in the post - you will have more than one ending quote and more than one starting quote. These are nested and you'll have to break these up a bit if you want to do the inline quoted text by person.

    PM me and I'll try to come up with more help if needed.

    [youtube:1nxbn4ji]nrqLv__bFzk[/youtube:1nxbn4ji]
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    I know - it just gets embarrassing - so, they tell me to get this hth Super shock 'n swim and just add it in until it goes away. I put in a total of 4 lbs of this magical stuff in there - and nothing changed!
    Deep breath - you got Pool Store'd but by Wally World. The cost out of your pocket was lower than the average Pool Store'd experience.

    From what I can tell the Super Shock 'n Swim you bought was Calcium Hypochlorite and if so - you have zero CYA which fits the next part of the story:

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    Anyway, I bought a test kit (hth 6 way test) and tested my water.
    That's a OK kit but it doesn't contain the FAS-DPD test you need for doing the shocking process recommeneded here.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    My CYA test was a miserable fail! My water was crystal clear (said I had to add the indicator until the black dot disappeared). Well when your water is crystal clear - that dot NEVER goes away.
    So far so good...

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    So, I went to the pool calculator and it said to drain out 56% of my water.
    Ummmm.... what did you have as goals and what did you enter into the website? The proper way to read a crytal clear result is ZERO CYA - what did you think the result was?

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    I immediately drained it to about 50% and added 3 gals of 6% liquid bleach ( I know this was overkill - but I was desperate).
    Half as much algae and 2x the chlorine - not the worst option. But that's a LOT of chlorine in there. By my calculations that's between 36 and 50ppm of chlorine - and ZERO CYA. You may have damaged the liner doing this blind like this. I'd either dump the water (all of it) and refill or refill immediately at the very least.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    This morning, I tested my water again (with the 6 way test kit) and here are my results:

    Cl - more than 5 (that is the max level it has - but I am not at school bus yellow)
    Was it orange or brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    - I am not sure if this is FC, CC, or TC (not sure how to tell)
    It's supposed to be FC, then after a minute TC and you subtract FC from TC but in truth the accuracy is so hard that most people don't bother and assume it is either FC or TC.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    pH - 7.8
    Ignore this for now. Not reliable to test when FC > 10.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    TA - 150
    No worrying about this at all for a while. It's fine and don't worry a bit about it until much later.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    CH - 290
    This is fine - again nothing to worry about for now. Was it higher before you dumped water?

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    My water now is a little clowdy (but I can see the bottom) - with clumps of brown stuff on the bottom (that I can't vacuum up - it goes right through the vacuum filter - and cartridge filter)
    Get a filter sock or make one and tie that off onto your return to avoid the junk going through the system. The filters supplied with these pools are pretty ineffective. You can also vacuum to waste by either siphoning off water through the vacuum or if the level is high enough running the pump while disconnecting the return so the water blows out into the yard.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    So, now that you know a little about my problem, could someone please help me get my pool back to correct working/swimming order? Thanks!
    Brianna
    You are in good hands.

    First - are you opposed to draining the whole thing and starting over? If not do it. Don't let it sit and don't fret - just do it.

    Second have you read the temporary pool setup info- even though this isn't a temp pool - for quicker startup you could treat it like one.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
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    msgtdan's Avatar
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    A seasonal pool can be maintained with the 6-way test kit but you can't fight a full blown algae outbreak very well with it. I managed last year with one, I now have the TF100 but don't have a pool up yet. Hopefully this weekend, had sand delivered yesterday and it's raining today.
    Dan D
    Used 2003 Aqua Leader 27'x52", 17,800 w/10" hopper, SwimPro SW256T 250# sand filter, Hayward PowerFlo LX pump 1hp impellor, Emerson 1 1/2 hp motor, setup Aug 2012 Summer 2011 used Summer Escapes Ring pool 14' x 42", Intex 1600gph sand filter, HTH 6 way test kitTF-100 w/stirrer, Well water @ FC=0, PH=7.2, TA=290, CH=320

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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Dumb question I know but, since you didn't put cya in I have to ask. Did you put any salt in the pool when you got it going?
    Noob Here!
    24' Above Ground
    Aquatrol SWG
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    Re: I listened to a Walmart employee - and now I am lost

    Quote Originally Posted by BMeyer
    ~My CYA test says that the water should be cloudy when I mixed my pool water with the reagent - then transfer into another tube and fill that tube until the black dot on the bottom disappears. My water never clouded - so the black dot was visible... I ran out of room in the vial - the top line on the vial read 90 - so I assumed I was probably at 100 or more.
    That's a very strange test kit you are using. The numbers should go from high near the bottom to low near the top as in the following image:



    or the following image:



    or the HTH 6-way test kit that has a similar tube:



    Can you please look at the tube again to see if it really does have the numbers increasing to the top of the tube? The numbers should be decreasing meaning that clear is less than the number at the top of the tube which is usually 30 or 20 so clear is going towards 0 ppm CYA.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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