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Thread: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

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    jv92red's Avatar
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    Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Ok, now that I have your attention with that subject line you're probably going to say: NOOOO, don't do it! And I 100% agree and have learned here about the dangers of high calcium with CalHypo and high CYA with Trichlor but this is I'm afraid might be my only option. And to reiterate - this isn't my pool either (Iím working on getting one built soon for my own home, that's why I've been here to learn) so here's some back story:

    Went to visit my parents last week who are in their 80's. They have a plaster IGP, about 14k gallons with DE filter. Back 20 years ago when I lived at home I used to take care of the pool maintenance for them. I used liquid chlorine exclusively to chlorinate. Since I moved out some 15 years ago they had a pool service that would come weekly then decided after about 10 years of that they could not afford spending money on the pool anymore so they stopped the pool service and started using a floater and Trichlor pucks. Of course pool was overrun with algae after a while of that. When I would come to visit I would ask about the chemicals and they would say: "if it were up to us we would just fill it(pool) in with dirt". But they can't afford that option either. Anything besides adding pucks to a floater and testing for PH once every few weeks(which for him is dropping Phenol reagent drops on the surface and watching if the red color turns or not as it floats away) and adding a little MA once in a while my dad will not partake in ANY more maintenance than that. They cannot afford a SWCG and I cannot afford to start dumping money into their pool equipment either and I am too far from them to offer any help with the maintenance and can only get up there once a month at most. Last time I was there a few weeks back the pump wasn't running (they decided it was too expensive to run it the 2-3 hours a day I had them cut down to) and of course without any circulation the algae was so bad there were backswimmers everywhere. Even if I had my test kit I would have been afraid to dip my arm in just to get a sample filled.

    So here's my plan:
    Test water next time I'm there. Knowing beforehand the CYA will be off the charts since they have been on Trichlor tabs exclusively for the past few years so will most likely have to drain half the pool off. So after I go through the shock process and get the water clear again I need to get them on some kind of 'minimal' pool maintenance program.

    So here's my plan for a that:
    After clear from the shock process and all levels are within spec, get them to 50ppm borates. (This will cost me ~$50 or so with 10 boxes of Borax and 3 gallons of MA but I can swing that) I feel this hopefully will buy some more time until I have to do a partial drain from over CYA levels which will be inevitable running the Trichlor pucks. I'm hoping the borates will supplement the pucks to stave off algae until the CYA level gets too high to render the chlorine level with pucks useless. Once the CYA gets too high which I think would be around 6 months(?) I would do a half drain and re balance the water. So besides my dad buying the Trichlor (I might have to buy these as well), making sure the floater has pucks, checking the PH (he doesn't understand any other chemical tests than that and doesn't want to know) and he is running the pump for the 2-3 hours a day (I tried longer and he refuses) this would be most maintenance I think they can handle for their pool along with as much as I can assist visiting once every 4-5 weeks running all the other tests. Or maybe instead of Trichlor pucks, use Cal Hypo pucks instead? My concern with that is now the CYA level will be fine but with raising calcium levels, will there be scaling before I can do a partial drain every 6 months? If not then this solution would allow me more FC from decent CYA levels to stave off Algae but if at the expense of scaling, I'll take algae instead.

    So, my question with this is: is this possible in theory? If this is not possible to keep the algae away for at least the 6 months then what would be an estimated timeline? More like 4-6 weeks instead? I figure if algae returns then I can shock to rid the pool but going through a shock routine every 4-6 weeks would be too expensive for me to handle. Also, a partial drain and refill will cost my parents too much money in water costs if itís any more than 6 months so they wouldn't go for that either. Talking them into a 6 months drain schedule will be hard enough as they would not even begin to understand the high CYA problem and why the pucks arenít working. We are in SoCal so there is no off season for pools, sun is always making it's rounds here so besides winter which does get the water temp down some, the sun is feeding the organics in the pool most all year round. I thought maybe about a Stenner pump to chlorinate but that would require them buying the liquid chlorine often anyways which they don't want to do and to make sure the chlorine supply to the pump is maintained, and then the cost of running that pump would be questioned....
    Ugh,
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Have they considered moving? {Asked only half in jest}

    Seriously this sounds like a lot of work and hassle for you to maintain a pool that no one wants or uses.

    Can you just drain and cover it?
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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Just curious do they still swim in the pool?

    PH test in the pool is brilliant, i'm gonna try that and see if there is any way possible to tell anything LOL.
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    You're in a tough spot and I think you are setting yourelf up for failure. You can make it work with trichlor pucks but the pump run time is going to be your downfall, unless the pool is really small 2 - 3 hours just wont cut it. I would suggest getting a test kit or taking the water to a pool store to get some test results. Just to give you a baseline, my pool is just under 12,000 gallons and I run my pump a minimum of 8 hours a night during the summer months. Any less and things go down hill quick.
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    They don't use it at all. It's only used once in a while in the summer when the grandkids visit but not in the condition it's in.

    From my research draining the pool would be bad for the the plaster wouldn't it? It was just replastered about 5 years ago paid for by my older sister who is now out of work and cannot help them financially anymore.
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    You actually only do need about 2-3 hours of pump run time for circulation of the chemistry, but the pool will become dirty if they are not pulling all the organics out and that will just lead to higher chlorine use.

    You should only drain it if you have a safety cover otherwise the big hole becomes a large safety liability. It may not be too bad on the plaster if it is covered.

    Difficult situation.

    If they can add some acid or pucks, why can't they just pour in X number of bottles of bleach every 1-2 days?
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Any chance a neighbor with kids and no pool wants to help out.....or a teenager.....would they let them?
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Pouring in liquid is too much for my dad to handle every few days. He would rather not deal with it or pay for it. That's why if pucks were purchased he could check a floater every week or so. Something long enough to where I can get up there every month to minimize the damage and rebalance when I'm there I think if I can get the pump running a few hours every day at least they should be ok but I'm not sure. Just going to try and see how this goes.
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    If thats all the pump time you can get then you have to roll with it. If your dad is willing to put the tabs in he might be willing to dump a bag of shock in once a week to keep up with demand. It will add unwanted chems to the pool but for your situation it might be a good option given that you know you will have to drain some water when the time/money permits.
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Dumping in shock once a week would work but that's another expense and maintenance step they won't want to bother with. I'm trying to get it to where I can leave them out of the loop and take care of it myself with minumum financial outlay on my side and with visits once every 4-6 weeks.

    What about leaving the algae in the pool and letting it sit? Parents would be happy not having to spend money on the chems and no more pool pump running up their electricity. I'm sure it would be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, what permanent damage would happen to the plaster? I mean perhaps when the time comes we can drain it and acid wash away all the filth and start over if things change?
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    I would lean toward just letting it sit full then. Maybe put a cover over it.
    You can add mosquito dunks to avoid it becoming a breeding ground.
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    jv92red's Avatar
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    I would lean toward just letting it sit full then. Maybe put a cover over it.
    You can add mosquito dunks to avoid it becoming a breeding ground.
    That's a solution I havn't thought about! My web search turns up that one dunk covers 100sqft of surface water for 30 days. And is non toxic to poeple and wildlife. I think this may be the solution if there is no potential damage to the plaster surface. Anybody ever use these things in a pool before?
    15'x35' IG 16,500 gallons w/attached raised 18" spa continuous coping w/underneath spill and ledger stone wrapped, NPT mini pebble aqua blue w/2x pigment & abalone shell finish, 2"x24" travertine coping, 3x Jandy Color LED lights (2 in pool), Jandy Flo Pro 2HP VS pump, Jandy LXI (low NOx) 400K BTU heater, Jandy CL460 cartridge filter, Jandy AquaPure Ei SWG, Jandy Z4 automation with iAqualink and remote poolside PDA, 1,300 sqft Belgard Catalina paver deck with drainage, fire pit that matches the spa with travertine coping and wrapped in ledger stone, Elitewood insulated patio cover, Vinyl gates, back vinyl fence coming soon...
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help me maintain parents pool using Trichlor pucks.

    We have seen people mention throwing them over their wall into the neighbors foreclosed swamp ...
    The water may become nothing nice to look at, but at least you would not have mosquitos.

    This could cause some staining to the plaster as well, but that can be fixed later if needed.
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