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Thread: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

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    Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Hello! I'm so glad I've discovered this forum. I have never had a pool and have a ton of questions! I am looking into getting an above ground pool for my 3 daughters, ages 2, 11 and 12. I think I've settled on the 18 x 52 Ultra Frame by Intex.

    I am looking into getting a 20 x 20 concrete patio poured to place it on. Would that be OK? Or is it preferable to place it directly on level ground? I do not want to level the ground myself (no DIY experience), so I figure the concrete patio would be "easier", although more costly.

    I am planning on buying a Gorilla Pad for the pool to protect it from the concrete. Is this necessary?

    I'd like to have a saltwater pool. Do I just purchase a "saltwater system" (without a pump)? Will the pump that the pool comes with work with this? The pool that I am looking at states that it comes with a sand filter pump.

    What do I need to have on hand to get started? I know the TF-100 test kit is a must. I cannot seem to find a supply list, though, of other things that I will need for a saltwater pool.

    I hope these aren't stupid questions! I've researched and researched and, like I said, am so glad I found this forum! I was thisclose to just throwing a tarp over our grass and popping a pool up on it like they do in the Intex videos.
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Hey Kristina, if you have the money and don't mind the extra expense, I would have a level concrete pad poured. It just takes so many problems away for you. Make sure and tell the contractor that you need it absolutely level for a pool. A gorilla pad is OK. Another option is getting some solid foam insulation in 4'x8' sheets and put those under the pool.....duct tape them together. I like having the insulation mainly because it does make the bottom a little "nicer", but I just think all this is personal preference.

    Salt water is nice (have had it on a number of Intex pools). Certainly makes it easier to keep up on the chemical levels (which you need to read up on if you haven't already). The pump you have will work with the standard Intex salt water generator.

    A test kit IS the key to a great pool experience for everyone. Make sure you have that on hand quickly. As for your chemicals......read up on the pool school section of this site. You will need bleach to start with for a few days before you get all your salt disolved and producing your chlorine. Stabilizer will also be needed. Go to the pool calculator to figure out what you need. For example. Chlorine.....your present condition is zero and let's just say you are looking for 3-5 ppm for a vinly pool with SWG (all this was from Recommended levels chart...find it and print it out). Put zero in the calculator, say 4 for the "target" and let's use 6% bleach. Make sure you have your gallon size in the pool size thing and once you click on the calculator it should tell you how many ounces of bleach you need to put in your pool. Play around with it and you will get how to use it. It is priceless for knowing EXACTLY how much stuff to add to your pool.

    I would recommend you try 2 hours a day for your SWG and check your chlorine levels to see if it needs to run more time. Remember, stabilizer is the key to keeping your chlorine in your pool. Pool school has a "chlorine/CYA Chart".....another one of those print it out things.

    Lastly, since you are new (and I still do this), keep a log, chart, spreadsheet....anything to keep track of what your chemical levels are and put on it what you added too. That way you will always know what's going on with your pool. For the first few weeks, prepare yourself to test every evening. Morning and evening would be better, but once a day minimum. After that, you will have the confidence to know what's going on in your pool.

    Oh, keep that pool covered. It eliminates alot of **** getting into your pool and chlorine loss will be minimal too. After the kids play, you might find that you need to add maybe a cup (yup, 8 oz) of bleach to the pool to bring levels back up so you don't have problems. If you don't get that, here is why. Your SWG generally makes the same amount of chlorine no matter what. So let's say next weekend the pool is open, kids splashing, sun beating down on the pool (burning off chlorine by the way). With all that activitiy, your chlorine levels will go down. The SWG only makes the same constant amount you told it to. You need more, use additional bleach to make up the difference. Last year for my smaller Intex pool, after every pool event, I added 1/2 cup of bleach. I would check levels within the next two days and add more if needed ONLY if the SWG didn't put out enough. My SWG was on 1 hour a day.....that was it.

    The more preparation you do before the pool build, the smoother I think the pool build goes. Get through this year and we will start discussing "upgrades" to your pool. For now, get your ducks in line, get your chemicals ready, then start having fun in the pool.

    Let us know if you need more help.....yes, we do hand hold from time to time......

    Bob E.

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Thank you so much, Bob E.! That was a ton of help.
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Our concrete is down! It was finished around 12:00 PM yesterday. The contractor told us to wait about 3 days until we set up the pool on it. Is that a decent amount of time? Also, what are the correct steps to get our pool up and running? I set up the pool, then fill it with water, add 175 pounds of salt (according to Intex), wait 24 hours for the salt to dissolve... Then do I test the water after that? I have the TF-100 test kit and salt test strips. When do I turn on the saltwater generator and sand pump? Thanks so much! I feel even more clueless now as I want to get this right!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Get everything balance before you start trying to run the SWG.

    You can test after the water is circulated for about an hour (except for the salt). Then post up the results and we can help you get things adjusted ... or use the poolcalculator.com to figure out how to adjust things. You will need to get some CYA in the water and you should manually dose with bleach until you are ready to get the SWG fired up.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Safetybob,
    Thanks for explaining it in my terms! I have read pool school and still get somewhat confused. Last year I found this website and my pool looked good all season long even though some of my numbers were always off. I think this year, I seem to be getting a better understanding of it, especially after reading your post here. My pool is going up this weekend hopefully, if we can avoid any storms again!
    Chris
    Intex Ultra Frame 16' x 4', 5000 Gallon

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    The pool is filling up now. Once it is full, I am going to add the salt and turn on the pump (but not the SWG). We bought 40 pound bags of salt. Would it be OK to add 160 pounds, even though 175 pounds is what it says to add in the manual? Do I add the CYA at the same time? Or wait until I test the water? Do I put the CYA in the basket on the pump or a sock in the pool? The manual says to add 1.7 pounds of CYA. I just can't imagine how that will fit in the basket or a sock?! Do I figure out how much bleach to add after I test the water? Or do I go ahead and add that at the same time as well (I can't figure out how much, which makes me think I need to test first)? Sorry for the question overload! I've been searching and pouring over the manuals and can't seem to find these specifics. Thanks so much!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    schertzy82's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Quote Originally Posted by kristinainaustin
    Would it be OK to add 160 pounds, even though 175 pounds is what it says to add in the manual? Do I add the CYA at the same time? Or wait until I test the water? Do I put the CYA in the basket on the pump or a sock in the pool? The manual says to add 1.7 pounds of CYA. I just can't imagine how that will fit in the basket or a sock?!
    Yes, you can start with 160 lbs and add more if your test reads below 3000 ppm. You can add the CYA at the same time, just don't put it directly in the basket or the pool. It can damage the pump if added directly and it can damage the liner if it settles to the bottom. Get a few long tube socks and tie them to the top rail and allow the CYA to dissolve out of them. Might take a few days. You can use as many socks as you need to hold all of it.

    I would add more than 1.7 lbs for two reasons:

    1. You plan on using a SWG and this forum recommends much higher CYA levels for saltwater pools, 70-80 ppm.

    2. You have a sand filter, so you will be backwashing to clean it. Backwashing removes water and CYA from your pool, and the Intex recommended 30 ppm is already on the lower end of normal. So after several rounds of backwashing, your CYA will drop below 30 which is low, even for a non SWG pool.
    Intex 18ft x 52in Ultra Frame Pool, hard plumbed w/skimmer and fountain
    Intex 4000 gph cartridge filter pump
    Intex SWG

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Test Results:

    TA = 20
    CH = 50
    CL BR < .5 1
    PH < 7.2
    CYA < 20

    I hope I did the test correctly! I'm going to add 160 pounds of salt, 65 ounces of CYA in a sock and 43 ounces of bleach. Do I just pour the bleach in? Thanks so much!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    schertzy82's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Yes, just pour it in slowly in front of a return. If your TA really is 20, then you need to get it up to 60-80 with baking soda. Ignore the BR (bromine) portion of the test. You're not using bromine.
    Intex 18ft x 52in Ultra Frame Pool, hard plumbed w/skimmer and fountain
    Intex 4000 gph cartridge filter pump
    Intex SWG

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    I just used an Intex 3-Way Test Strip and got the following results:

    ppm FREE CHLORINE: Anywhere from 0.5 to 3, can't really tell as the colors all look so similar
    pH: 7.2
    ppm TOTAL ALKALINITY: Anywhere from 120 to 180

    I'm hoping the TA test result is wrong! I have a TF-100 test kit that I plan to use this evening (I'm alone with my 2-year-old, so I can't do it right now). I added 96 ounces of baking soda last night and now I'm regretting it (and wondering why I didn't start out slower - ugh). I also added 32 ounces of bleach yesterday. Do I need to add more today? I have 64 ounces of CYA in there (that went in on Sunday) and the filter/pump has been on for almost 24 hours now (it got a late start due to electrical issues). Should I wait until I use the TF-100 test to do anything else? Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Throw the test strips away so you are not tempted again ... trust the TF100.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    New results:

    CL: 0 (Just added another 32 ounces of 8.5% bleach)
    PH: 7.5
    TA: 70
    CYA < 20 (Although it looked more cloudy than last time)

    Do I need to wait until all of this is "right" to turn on my salt water generator? The CYA in the socks doesn't look like it's dissolved much. Thanks!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    So start squeezing the sock every time you walk by.

    You have GOT to start maintaining the FC above the minimums with bleach. What CYA level did you target?
    If the salt has been in the pool for 24 hours, then you can start it up. But realize you will have to adjust the output as the CYA level rises.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Squeezed and squeezed the socks and I just tested again and everything's on target - YAY! - except the pH is around 6.8 now... I guess I need to add Borax? My TA is still at 70 and I don't want to mess it up. It's night now, so is it OK to leave it overnight like this?! Or should I make a run for the store?! Thanks!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    you need atleast 3 ppm fc in that pool asap........Mike
    18x52 intex ultra frame pool 6981 gallons, 1 HP LL pump with 19 in sand filter,BBB method,borax 50ppm
    leslies DPD test kit + fas-dpd chlorine test kit + borates test strips
    thru wall skimmer,hard plumbed with 2 returns 1 1/2 sch 40 pvc
    1 large fountain 1 inch sch 40 pvc,shut off ball valves on all

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    FC is at 4. To add the borax, do I just pour it in in front of the return? pH is still around 6.8 this morning with TA at 70. Thanks!
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Nevermind... Found the answer.
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    Alright... Having problems. I raised the pH to 7.2 with borax, but now the TA is 90... Not sure where I should go from here.
    15 ft x 42 in Intex Easy Set Pool on a 20 ft x 20 ft Concrete Pad

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Getting Started With an Intex 18 x 52 Ultra Frame

    TA is really low the list of things to be concerned about ... Keep the pH in range and the TA will find a happy place eventually.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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