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Thread: New home with a pool and some questions

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    New home with a pool and some questions

    I recently closed on a new (to me) home with a pool (hooray!). I had a few questions and concerns and I was hoping you guys could offer some insight and advice.

    Firstly, the chemicals. I know I need to order a good testing kit, and I intend to as soon as I can. At the moment all I have are the test strips, which have yielded the following:

    TC 0 ppm
    FC 0.5 ppm
    TA 120 ppm
    pH 7.8
    TH 250 ppm

    I know those are probably fairly inaccurate, and without being able to test CH and CYA I shouldn't get too crazy. So, since my pool is already starting to get a little cloudy I'm thinking to start things off I should probably just add a two gallons of 6% bleach (into the 18,000 gallon pool) and see where that gets me. Does this seem like a reasonable game plan? Also, my timer is currently set to run from about 11:30am to 6:00pm, so I'm guessing I should probably increase this by another hour or two?

    Secondly, I have some questions about the plumbing itself. Pictures can be found here:

    As I understand it, two drains come up out of the ground, the spa drain and the main drain/skimmer. This goes into the pump, which in turn goes into the sand filter, through the chlorinator and then back to the spa/pool returns.

    Question #1: It seems that there is a bypass around the chlorinator (the pipe with the red ball valve) that goes directly to the spa return. Any idea what this is for? I'm guessing it's so you don't over chlorinate the spa when using it as a spa? I probably won't be using it as a spa for a while considering I don't have a heater hooked up, so what position should that ball valve be in during normal use?

    #2: The pipe going out of the pump actually goes into a 3 way valve before the sand filter, with one direction going into another small looking filter with a pressure gauge on top, and then right back into the ground. Any idea what this is for? My best guess is for the spa jets? I have tried moving that grey three way valve and wasn't able to really notice any effect. What position should that valve be in?

    #3: I haven't check yet to see if there are any tablets in the chlorinator, and since I don't know my CYA and CH numbers, I'm guessing I should probably just ignore the chlorinator for now and add liquid bleach since tablets could possibly unnecessarily add CYA or CH? Any other thoughts on future use of the chlorinator? It seems like a nice idea but I don't want to unnecessarily add CYA or CH.

    #4: I don't actually have a pressure gauge installed on my sand filter. Perhaps this is what the pressure gauge I mentioned in #2 is intended to be used for? Should have one installed?

    #5: My pool doesn't seem to be setup for a pool vacuum, so I'll need to do that manually. I'm guessing this should basically be done via main drain/skimmer on, spa drain off, pool return on, spa return off, and then plug the vacuum hose into the skimmer? When I pull the basket out of my skimmer it looks like I have a circular piece of plastic with 3 small holes in it. How does the vacuum hose connect up to that?

    Thank you for any input you guys can provide! And lastly, a gratuitous pool pic:

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: New home with a pool and some questions

    Hard to give recommendations on FC with no idea what the CYA is. For reference 1 gallon (128oz) or 6% bleach will add ~3.4ppm of FC to your pool. So, you should at least be adding 1 gallon everyday just to replace the "normal" FC loss each day. If your pool is cloudy or green, then you need to go through the shock process described in Pool School.

    1. That could be part of it. Also, if you close the SPA return with the 3-way valve, that ball valve will still add some water to your spa for circulation and spill back into the pool.

    2. That 3-way is likely to select a pressure side cleaner ... you should find a hole in the pool that is only one when that valve is opened. You adjust the grey valve so that you are sending to correct amount of pressure to the cleaner. The canister is a filter to make sure no debris that gets past the pump basket is sent to the cleaner.

    3. Good plan ... ignore it. It can be useful if your CYA is a little low to use for vacations etc to add chlorine.

    4. You definitely want a pressure gauge on the filter. You will want to backwash when the pressure goes up 20-25% over the clean pressure. Look for a plug that might be in a port to install a gauge.

    5. You can manually use a vacuum using a skimmer plate (not sure if that is what is in the bottom of the skimmer already (add a picture). Or, look into buying a pressure side automatic cleaner ... lots of people like the Polaris (but I can not remember which model is the pressure side that does not need the booster pump). Or consider an electric robot.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New home with a pool and some questions

    Thanks for the response!

    One last question: When I run the pool I usually do main drains on, spa drains off, pool/spa returns on. However, when the pump shuts off the level in the spa drops maybe 4 inches or so below the waterfall level. It doesn't ever seem to go below the level of the jets, and it always seems to go down to about the same point. Is this a problem? I don't think it's a leak since I haven't added water in a while and the level seems to remain more or less constant, and I haven't noticed any soggy grass. I guess it's just draining into the pool?

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