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Thread: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

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    Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Hi,

    I just put an offer on a house that has a pool. I've never owned/maintained a pool in my life and I didn't know the first thing about pool maintenance or pool chemistry until this week when I found Pool School.

    I had the inspection a few days ago and it went very well. Here's what I know so far about the pool:

    It's a smallish (<10000 gal?? See pic) pool/spa with pebble surface. It was constructed from scratch in 2008. It's got 2 fountains, a waterfall and several spilling basin-type water features and has a small tanning ledge.

    It's a SWG system using a Goldline ProLogic automation system, two Hayward Northstar pumps and a booster pump. It has a hayward DE filter and a gas heater (and several other pieces of equipment that I don't recognize). It does have an automatic cleaner thing, but I didn't get a chance to see what type. All the equipment is in an enclosed shed protected from the elements and seems to be well maintained (at least from my very very limited knowledge). Everything is clean and well labelled.

    The current owners use a pool service for maintenance, but after reading Pool School, I feel like I can handle the little things like basic pool chemistry and cleaning on my own. I would probably only need them to do occasional maintenance on the equipment (cleaning filters, checking/repairing leaks, etc) or to check on it if I ever have to go out of town for any extended time.

    I plan on ordering the TF100 test kit and test strips for salt and borates when I get closer to move-in.

    So, keeping in mind that I'm completely inexperienced/ignorant (other than what I've read on Pool School), what advice do you have for me with my first pool?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ~15k gal IG pebble pool/spa w/ water features, Goldline ProLogic + SWG, 2x Hayward Northstar pumps, Hayward Booster Pump, Hayward 60sqft DE filter, 400k BTU Hayward heater, Hayward Viio Turbo pool cleaner, TF100 test kit

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Read pool school about 1000X times. I was in your shoes about 2 years ago and have never had any issues I can't resolve thanks to this web site. Pool school and understanding the chemicals is the key thing.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Start a Pool Book. Collect phone numbers of local pool stores or sources for other chemicals you find you need. Visit the local pool stores after you are well versed in Pool School and see who knows and who just sells. List specs for your equipment.

    When you get your pool test kit, begin with the testing notes on the cover and consider if you want to make a larger sheet like that to include what you added and what your goal was. While you are learning your pool, this will really help you understand how it changes with the seasons. Those seasons being, Falling Leaves, Winter, Pollen, and Swim Seasons, at least in my neighborhood.
    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: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Thanks.

    Hey, btw, since both of you are from TX too, what do you do with your pools in winter? I read the article about how to close a pool for winter, but it seems like it's written more for a northern climate and for a pool without a spa and/or heater.

    It sounds like a lot of people just shock it and cover it and forget it until it's time to open next spring, but wouldn't that just be a recipe for algae formation over winter? Also, what if you want to use the spa?
    ~15k gal IG pebble pool/spa w/ water features, Goldline ProLogic + SWG, 2x Hayward Northstar pumps, Hayward Booster Pump, Hayward 60sqft DE filter, 400k BTU Hayward heater, Hayward Viio Turbo pool cleaner, TF100 test kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    I just leave my pool open. Reduce the pump run time and the cooler water requires less FC to maintain clear water.

    That is the only way you will be able to have the spa ready at as moments notice.

    We rarely have freezing weather, but when it drops that low, I just run the pump at night on low speed.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Welcome to the site ! Thats a nice looking pool and landscape area. Read pool school, read pool school and read pool school educate yourself as much as you can. Having an SWG means you already have the upper hand on your pool chemistry. More than likely you will just need to keep some MA on hand to keep things balanced. Learn from the people and information on this site to keep your water balanced and looking good.
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
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    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Thanks. Regarding MA, I neglected to take a picture of the equipment, but I did note that it has a Goldline Prologic which could mean there's a Sense & Dispense system in there too (maybe?). If so, does that handle all the pH balancing (providing it's functioning and has necessary fluids)?
    ~15k gal IG pebble pool/spa w/ water features, Goldline ProLogic + SWG, 2x Hayward Northstar pumps, Hayward Booster Pump, Hayward 60sqft DE filter, 400k BTU Hayward heater, Hayward Viio Turbo pool cleaner, TF100 test kit

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    General Advice: The best investment you can make is a TF100. Spring for the XL option so you won't need to order refills too soon. I'm betting you'll burn through a lot of reagents at first, playing with the new toy. We all do. To double your fun, add a speedstir, too.
    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: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    It matters where you are in TX, it's a big place! Houston, Dallas, Midland, Galveston are all very different.

    Here in Houston, I keep the pool open year-round. It is seen from every window in the house and so has to be pretty at all times even if we cannot swim. Pool chores go all year also, emptying the skimmers every few days or daily in fall and spring. Testing slows down to maybe 2/wk in winter, though to be truthful I get lazy and a few weeks may go by. That is why I keep a dated log of tests, so I don't have to remember when I last tested I have the record right there on top of the box. I have a freeze protection program in the Aqualink so the pool turns on when the temps drop toward freezing to protect the pipes.

    Like jbizzle I reduce the pump hours for winter. About 6 hours run time in winter, 9 hours in spring and fall, 11 hours in summer. I've never worried too much over whether those may be too long, I know those hours are not too short. I run the Polaris a lot, due to big trees just across the fence, maybe 3 hours a day.

    I've found that the spa will get algae after use if I don't take special care in the cool seasons because I am sort of careless on tending the pool then. The heat and bubbles and high person/gallon factor uses up chlorine, so either add a measured amount of chlorine to the spa after use or circulate it to the pool and waste whatever heat is left. Or, of course, keep on top of the testing!
    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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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Here in Louisiana (25 miles from the TX state line, about 150 miles NE of Houston, and about 100 miles inland from the coast) most people never formally close their pools, they just go into a low maintenance dormant season, some use winter covers, some don't, and some just turn everything off and let the pools turn into swamps over the winter. We do get freezing temperatures here, but it is rare for it to ever get cold long enough for water puddles on the ground to freeze and when it does it is almost always just a thin layer on the surface. Only once in my lifetime do I remember it ever freezing to the point of having small ponds ice over with ice thick enough that you had to walk on it to break it for a few days, etc. that was 1985 or 1986.
    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: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by elenaran
    Thanks.

    Hey, btw, since both of you are from TX too, what do you do with your pools in winter? I read the article about how to close a pool for winter, but it seems like it's written more for a northern climate and for a pool without a spa and/or heater.

    It sounds like a lot of people just shock it and cover it and forget it until it's time to open next spring, but wouldn't that just be a recipe for algae formation over winter? Also, what if you want to use the spa?
    I leave my pool open. Absolutely no reason to close it here (Richmond,Tx) and have a bigger headache in the spring. I do put a floater in with 3 inch tabs during the winter and only run the pump for 2 to 3 hours a day. I go back to BBB around middle of March and will continue that until late fall. BTW - That is a really nice looking pool.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Yeah, even more north in Dallas (where I am), I doubt it gets cold enough for more than a very thin layer of ice on the pool. I would think just keeping the pumps going during those few sub-freezing times would be enough to prevent damage.

    Another question: Obviously my pool cleaner won't be able to get into the spa by itself - is it recommended to plop it in there every so often (if it even reaches) to give the spa a good scrub?
    ~15k gal IG pebble pool/spa w/ water features, Goldline ProLogic + SWG, 2x Hayward Northstar pumps, Hayward Booster Pump, Hayward 60sqft DE filter, 400k BTU Hayward heater, Hayward Viio Turbo pool cleaner, TF100 test kit

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Use a leaf rake or a spa wand. Best rake has a hard lip like a dust pan to push and scoop into the net. Spa wand is amanual suction stick thing.
    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: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by elenaran
    Yeah, even more north in Dallas (where I am), I doubt it gets cold enough for more than a very thin layer of ice on the pool. I would think just keeping the pumps going during those few sub-freezing times would be enough to prevent damage.

    Another question: Obviously my pool cleaner won't be able to get into the spa by itself - is it recommended to plop it in there every so often (if it even reaches) to give the spa a good scrub?

    I just rake out what ever gets in the spa. Usually it isn't that bad but I don't have the trees like you do.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Here's another one: obviously until I get to know my pool, I'll be testing it all the time, but after I get to know it, and if the weather's been pretty constant, how often do you really need to check? Assuming the SWG is working properly and I've learned what operating level works best under what conditions, wouldn't I be able to trust that it will hold the FC steady for a few days?
    ~15k gal IG pebble pool/spa w/ water features, Goldline ProLogic + SWG, 2x Hayward Northstar pumps, Hayward Booster Pump, Hayward 60sqft DE filter, 400k BTU Hayward heater, Hayward Viio Turbo pool cleaner, TF100 test kit

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    I am in the Houston area and never close my pool either. The only thing I may do is if we are going to get freezing weather I will wrap up all my pool related pipes that are open to the elements and cover with a tarp. This keeps it warm and dry and leave the pump running. I tend to slack a lot during the winter, but I know what I will need to do when spring time comes around to get it ready to go again. Now that anything bad happens, but usually in the spring I have a few days of shocking to go through to get it back in swim condition.
    13,000 Plaster IG Pool approx
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    Pool Calculator, Pool School, TF Test Kits

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by elenaran
    Here's another one: obviously until I get to know my pool, I'll be testing it all the time, but after I get to know it, and if the weather's been pretty constant, how often do you really need to check? Assuming the SWG is working properly and I've learned what operating level works best under what conditions, wouldn't I be able to trust that it will hold the FC steady for a few days?
    That is the purpose of the pool test log. You will develop a feel for it.

    Some things must be tested monthly, some weekly, some daily. pH may be an issue in your pool that needs attention every few days even though chlorine is fine, sometimes it is in SWG pools. It just takes a moment to scoop some water for a quick test using the blue box (OTO test). As the seasons change, pool temp changes, the falling leaves begin or start, someone blows grass into the pool or fertilizer or a duck takes up residence or the water level is suddenly low or the pump sounds weird..... A pool is a lot like a new pet, you have to pay a bit of attention every day. You may not need to test every day, but every day you must check on your pool. It will become a habit. (Oh, the pool is a bit dull, maybe pollen on the surface, check the run time and boost that until pollen is over, and check the FC just in case.)
    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: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Oh, also look around in the Stickies for a thread called Things I thought everyone knew. An assortment of tips.
    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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    ComputerGuyInNOLA's Avatar
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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Hi Elenaran,

    I am in South Lousiana. We do not close our pool here. Our pool is very similar to yours. Our pool is an integral part of our living environment. We would never think about letting it green up over the winter. Your pool is very close to your home and if you entertain a lot you don't want an ugly back yard. During the winter it is very easy to maintain a pool unless you have a lot of debris. Given the trees and foliage in your yard I would recommend that you keep it open year round but keep an eye on the debris from your trees. We check our pool daily and skim all debris from the pool every single day. If you cannot do this, get a cover and a good pool cleaner. Fortunately we live in an area that is sub tropical and we enjoy our pool and outdoor living space daily even during the winter. Our pool is also SWCG chlorinated. This past winter I ran mine at only 5% for 4 hours per day and easily maintained a FC level of 5. Post more information about your pool chemistry and the model numbers of all your equipment and you will receive great advice from this forum.

    You will learn a lot here. Get a good test kit and a speedstir magnetic stirrer. We check our water about 3 times a week and have been rewarded with a crystal clear pool since it was installed. Good luck and what a beautiful pool you have!

    David
    Gunite/Plaster pool at 13k gallons. All Jandy with CL340 series cartridge filter, 1.5 HP Jandy Stealth pump. Jandy 1400 SWCG and PDA4 controller. Dual waterfalls. Polaris 280. Pool installed August 2012. Southern Louisiana. And lets not forget my trusty TF100 test kit!

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    Re: Soon-to-be Pool Owner - Any General Advice?

    Thanks for all the advice everyone - keep it coming.

    anona- I'll take a look at that sticky
    ~15k gal IG pebble pool/spa w/ water features, Goldline ProLogic + SWG, 2x Hayward Northstar pumps, Hayward Booster Pump, Hayward 60sqft DE filter, 400k BTU Hayward heater, Hayward Viio Turbo pool cleaner, TF100 test kit

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