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Thread: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

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    "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Hi all! Buying a "new" (to me) home, that was less than perfectly maintained. When my wife and I first saw the property 4 weeks ago, the pool was green and dirty. We had the winning bid on the home, and *should* be closing next weekend. Three weeks ago, they drained and filled the pool. I'm convinced they put nothing but water back in.

    I currently have an above-ground spa, and use an "Exact Micro 7+" photometer for chemistry with it.

    I went to the house today to take some readings, to see what I'm looking at, in terms of getting the pool back up to par.
    I am unfamiliar with pool chemistry, although I have many hours on this site taking in all the available knowledge.

    I calculated the pool at roughly 31,500 to 33,000 gallons.
    The only measurement I could not take was salinity, as I'm not sure if the Exact does it. If not, I'll pick up some strips, or a Taylor test kit
    for just the salinity.

    The pool is about 6 years old.
    >>> It's starting to grow algae on the bottom.

    The readings are as follows:
    FC = .03
    PH = "HI" Yikes!
    TA = 105
    CA = 130
    CYA = <5 Yikes!
    The red "Add Salt" light on the SWG cell is lit.
    The filter is showing 12psi, which I think is low for this filter...

    I'd like to shock it, to kill all the nasties, but not sure where to proceed first considering the PH and FC.
    To further make things difficult, there is no vacuum/robotic cleaner, and the special suction fitting on the side of the pool has the flap broken off, so it's sucking in water from there, and not the skimmers.

    Cutting to the chase, my questions are:
    1) What would be the recommended steps to get to the point where maintenance is in sight? Salinity, PH, then ... or another procedure.
    2) I know I need a vacuum/cleaner, but should I get it ASAP, or can I balance the chemistry first?
    3) Eventually, what supplies will I most likely need to stock at home for normal maintenance? Salt, chlorine, beer, etc.
    4) Since the pool is about 6 years old, is there a point at which I should take apart the cell?

    Thanks for the help!
    Dave
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Welcome to TFP!

    Personally I would first inspect all the equipment. Make sure the filter is in good shape and the SWG cell is clean.

    I have not heard about your tester, but generally the electronic ones seem to be iffy. How often do you calibrate it? How do you know it is right? I would suggest getting one of the recommended test kits anyway and then maybe seeing how your tester stacks up.

    Have you read Pool School yet? There are a lot of sucks about dealing with algae and the shock process to use to clear it.

    Salt is low on the priority list as the pool should be clear after the shock process before actually using the SWG.

    You will first want to get the pH to the low 7s and also get your CYA up to at least 30ppm, then start the shock process with liquid chlorine/bleach.

    Once clear, then you can start dealing with the other parameters, raising the CYA up to around 70ppm, and fire up the SWG.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    You can probably use the pool calculator to figure out the amount of salt needed. If it was me, i would immediately throw some di-chlor in the pool to prevent the algae from getting worse until you are settled in the house and can spend some time getting everything balanced properly. Your going to want to raise the CYA to around 80 and the CH to about 260. Having a vacuum makes no difference in balancing the water. What type of swcg is it? But in the meantime adding dichlor wont hurt.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    I agree with the others, get some chlorine in there and worry about getting the salt water generator going when you have time, I would say use the often maligned tri-chlor pucks for now, just don't use them for too long.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    I am not a fan of having newbies use di-chlor. It moves two parameters at once and is a bit difficult to find for some and, generally, adds complexity to the process. I suggest you stay with liquid chlorine for your shock process.

    Having that electronic tester, who's results may or may not be worthwhile, will likewise cause you some problems if the results are bogus (and they usually are.....it's hard to say if yours are accurate)

    So, to answer some questions.....

    1. You were correct, beer is the FIRST thing that should be stocked.

    2. Get your equipment up and operational as jblizzle suggests. Purchase an inexpensive vacuum head for now. You can look at autovacs down the road a bit.

    3. Remove as much solid debris (if there is any) as you can. You made need a leaf net. Don't skimp...get a heavy duty one for that good size pool.

    4. Lower your pH into the lower 7's and start the shock Process. follow it carefully.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate the input.

    So the dichlor would both lower the PH AND raise the CYA?
    But, when I plug different amounts of Dichlor into the Pool Calculator, it shows some levels to be out of spec.
    I used 31k gallons, because I can always use more chemical. I plugged in 450 oz (28lbs) of Dichlor, and it only lowers the PH 2.3 (it's reading off the scale currently) but raises the FC by 60, which seems way to much.

    Would it not be better (and I say this with due respect, and limited knowledge) to use muriatic or sodium bisulfate, or...?

    I'm hearing a consensus that the PH first needs to be addressed...

    BTW, the photometer I'm using is:
    http://www.sensafe.com/micro7+/

    I researched the **** out of it (and others) before I bought it. It's *supposed* to be the real deal, but then again, I can't count ppm with my eyes to verify...

    Thanks for the help,
    D!
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    That is exactly why it is simpler to use muriatic acid and bleach and stabilizer separately for new maintainers of pools.

    You can not add all the Dichlor at once and have to be mindful of the effect on pH and FC and CYA so that none get out of spec.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Is the point of using the Dichlor then to arrest the algae by increasing the FC, and a side benefit (for me) is lower the PH? Although in my case the affect on PH would be negligible.

    As a start, does this look appropriate to add?

    8 gallons 31% muriatic
    2 lbs dichlor

    This will raise the FC to 11(ish) but, with the low CYA, it will come down quickly over the next week?

    Dave
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Not sure what the "point" of dichlor is. It is just another pool chemical that is fine to use if you understand its impacts (most people do not). For someone new to maintenance, it is much simpler to stick with separate chemicals.

    If you tests are to be believed, you need to:
    - lower the ph
    - Add CYA up to about 30ppm, go through the shock process, and then raise it up to 70-80ppm for you SWG
    - Add chlorine up to shock level and maintain it there, best to add the CYA first

    8 gallons is WAY too much. Not sure how you came up with that. 3/4 of a gallon will lower the pH by ~0.7 Do that wait an hour with the pump on and retest and continue adjusting until you get to about 7.2

    BTW, with the lack of CYA in the pool, the FC will be lost to the sun quickly. If you raise the FC up to 11ppm, it will likely be less than 5ppm in 1 day and less than 2ppm in 2 days ... and that is assuming you did not have organics in the water also consuming it.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Me using the work "point" was, although maybe poorly worded, trying to learn the motivation by using one chemical over another. I understand there's more than one way to lower PH, but if the chemical being used for that purpose also accomplishes a secondary goal, then all the better. Learning that kind of stuff from experienced professionals such as yourself will help me understand what to use, and when.

    Assuming my meter is correct, it reads that PH is off the scale (higher than 9.0).

    Not sure which number I put in the calculator previously, but now it's giving me 1 to 1.5 gallons for PH compensation. I think I didn't click on another field so it could update.

    I will try 3/4 gallon muriatic and 4 lbs dichlor and retest in two days.

    Thanks again
    D!
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Have you seen the Effects calculator at the bottom of the poolcalculator?

    4 lbs of dichlor will lower pH by 0.32, raise FC by 8.3 and CYA by 7.6.

    Don't be surprised if the FC drops very fast due to the presence of organics and the lack of CYA.

    I would still recommend adding one of the recommended test kits to your arsenal ... at least that will allow you to see what your tester is good at and what it is not. Once you know its limitations, you might be able to use it on a daily basis and the titration kit every week or so to confirm. Hard for me to want to trust a black box with no way to verify it.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    I agree it can be simpler to stick with separate chemicals, but if the balance of the pool is known, I see nothing wrong with some trichlor floaters until everything is stabilized. With CYA that low, some floaters are not going to hurt a thing, and will help keep the FC up until balance is achieved. This is exactly what I did until I got a handle on my pool after moving into this house - and in doing so getting my first pool. I read Pool School over and over, and realized what each product would do. My pool was green when I moved in too, and CH was below 50... I shocked with CalHypo and followed what was going to happen to the pool using poolcalculator.com. I got my CH up to 330 and cleared my algae all in one.

    It's just a matter of knowing what each addition of each product will do to your water.
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    This time of year we get a lot of people in similar situations to yourself, in fact your a bit early so will likely get more attention than you would in a month or so when we may be dealing with several new people every day in similar situations. One thing we have found is that most people are not professional chemist and have a hard time understanding the side effects of using some of these chemicals which may effect 2 or 3 things at once or more. As such our standard advice is to try to keep it simple (learn to ride the bicycle before trying to learn to ride the unicycle while juggling bowling balls), therefore we generally suggest using chemicals that will have as few secondary effects as possible. This is not to say in your situation that you could not use X amount of dichlor to help lower pH while boosting FC and CYA, but that this quickly turns into advanced juggling.

    Ike

    p.s. I also suggest getting a good drop based kit, I personally use the TF-100 with speed stir option
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    I welcome the complexity of using chemicals that affect multiple parameters. Not that I'm captain chemistry, but I do like being responsible for either the success of my endeavors, or the failures. I learned the hard way on my spa that one should underestimate the chemicals, because more can always be added. I'd shock my spa, wait in eager anticipation for the levels to drop, get frustrated 2 days later and put in a tsp of sodium thiosulfate, retest and find out the bromine was waaaaay too low, and finally learn to go in smaller steps.

    I do, however, get frustrated sometimes when a client calls at work and asks me how to fix their Aston Martin over the phone. Which is why I appreciate the info on this board. You guys do this for a living. I'm a "weekend warrior." I won't however, ask the same question twice...unless I'm posting after a "few" beers.

    I just ordered a Taylor k-2006, to verify the readings of my digital meter.

    I put in 3/4 gallon muriatic, and 5 lbs dichlor. I was gonna put in just 3 lbs, but I just had a beer, the evening was cool outside, and I thought the worst that could happen is that I'd have another chemistry issue to fix!

    I'll post the readings (I know you'll be patiently waiting ;>) in a few daze.

    Thanks again for the expertise!
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Actually very few of us do this (or anything pool related) for a living ... none of us get paid for posting. Most of us are just regular homeowners that have learned about this method and enjoy helping teach it to others.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    If you want to you can always use the combo chemicals, just pay attention and TAKE NOTES. Record your test data and record what you add and why you are adding it and what the readings ought to be following. You will still end up having to buy the separate chemicals to really dial in the chemistry, but if you have more fun tackling it with combo chemicals, go on and have fun. But do take notes. If you add one thing for the result of A and forget about the side result of B, you may run into issues down the road with B being way out of whack.

    So, since you already tossed in the dichlor, how much CYA does that add to the pool? You want to write that down now before you forget it. That CYA will not show up on test for at least a week, so lest it sneak up on you and create a need to drain the pool you want to keep a log of that sort of thing that you add. Things like CYA and calcium are sort of hard to get rid of if you have too much.

    For example, you want that CYA to be at about 30 for now, not higher, so that when you shock the pool you don't have to use so much bleach. Just a matter of money and time spent lugging jugs of bleach home. Less time on the pool and more time in the pool.
    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" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    @anonapersona: Thanks for the reminder about the CYA. When I check the levels tomorrow, I'll be wary of the CYA, and keep watching the change.

    @jblizzle: I did see the changes the calculator shows at the bottom. Very handy. I've been playing around with it, trying to see what does what. Per your recommendation, I ordered a test kit to verify my photometer readings.

    I am running into three issues that will need to be addressed before I go further. Anyone willing to speculate is welcome to do so:

    1) I am NOT sure about the pool volume. I found a calculator online that took into account the pool's irregular shape, and plugged in the numbers. I made a crude drawing, since I couldn't find a Visio stencil for pools. The drawing, with some quick pool pics are here...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/94397856@N05/

    Please tell me what your experience comes up with. I'm getting somewhere between 31k and 34k gallons.

    2) The filter pressure is variable, since the pump speed is adjustable. I have searched for quite a while trying to find a chart with correlations, but am getting a spectrum of recommendations. Anyone have a sense for what pressures are normal for what settings with this pump?

    This segues to the last question.

    3) The realtor selling the house reset the Easytouch panel to cost him the least, since he is paying for the utilities until we take possession of the house this weekend. The pump runs on the lowest speed (not enough for the waterfalls), and runs 5 hours a day. An "expert" at the place I purchased the chemicals said the pump speed should be increase for the roof-mounted solar panels. I'm not asking how to program the EasyTouch panel. I downloaded the manual and am somewhat familiar with it. The opinion I'd like to get is how long should I run the pump, based upon the calculated pool volume from question #1? A more difficult related question would be, at what speed should I run the pump? I know how to restore the pump to the factory default 4 speeds, but am not finding a recommended filtration speed.

    Is a higher speed needed to overcome the height of the solar panels?

    Thanks in advance for dealing with noob questions...
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    1. Does not really matter. Pick a number to use. Then use the calculator to calculate a dose for a certain change. Add it and test again after an hour. Write all your results down and eventually you will see a trend if you are always high or low and can adjust the volume.

    2. There is no normal as it is different with every pool because the pressure depends on everything in the system.

    3. You will likely need more pressure to push the water up to the roof, so will need a higher speed to prime the panels. Solar panels heat more efficiently at higher flow rates, but can be damaged if you go too high of a pressure.

    Running on low speed for 5 hours is fine for circulating the pool, but may not filter enough to keep all the dirt out. You will have to experiment with the speeds and times to see what keeps your pool free of dirt.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Should I attempt to find the manufacturer of the panels to see how high I can run the pump, or is that way more difficult than it sounds, being as I have little roof access...
    ~32k gal, plaster, 3HP Intelliflo, 100 sqft Quad D.E., EasyTouch SWG, Gas/solar heating, Waterfalls x2, Dolphin M5 and Zodiac MX8 Elite

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: "New" home, poorly maintained large pool needs help

    Do you have any details on the panels? Sizes, number, etc?

    I think most panels recommend around 1 gpm per 10 sqft.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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