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Thread: Total newbie and confused

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    Total newbie and confused

    Hi! I have been lurking for a few days, reading and trying to learn as much as I can before opening my mouth and proving beyond a doubt how clueless I am.


    We rented a house with an in ground fiberglass pool, and the owner opened it for us 2 weeks ago, dumped a few chemicals in, and departed. She told me to shock it on Sundays and make sure there was always a chlorine tab in the skimmer basket. (My best friend shrieked at that, and I now have a duck chlorinator floating around.) The water initially cleared up, but I bought a test kit and found to my horror that I couldn't keep chlorine in it, and that the ph was well below the bottom of my test kit readings (< 6.8). So she stopped by, and dumped some soda ash in it when we weren't home. (The bottle was in the trash.) And there was still some green from opening it, so she added algaecide. The same day the landscapers came through and fertilized and ended up with a bunch of iron bits in the pool, and overnight I have metal stains - lots of them. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the cartridges were way old, so one failed and blew a mess back into the pool. (All 4 are now replaced and mess cleaned up.)

    I have been reading, and I did the vitamin C test, and I have a lovely clear clean perfect blue spot where I tested that. So, OK, I am sure it's metal staining, based on what I read here.

    I have a Basic 5 test kit, need to get a better one, but here is what I get:
    FC 2
    CC 2
    PH < 6.8 (sickly yellow)
    TA 20

    Can't test for CH or CYA with this kit. Will go to pool store with a sample ASAP, but likely Saturday am. I hate to walk in there clueless, knowing they will push a ton of expensive stuff at me.

    So where do I start?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Kris
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    Welcome to TFP!

    You seem to be in a bit of a tricky situation since you are just renting the house. Are you going to be the one responsible for the pool maintenance?

    Depending how much you've read on this site in the Pool School section, you will have realized that the method that the owner is using to maintain the pool is not preferred.

    To properly maintain your pool, you need to know the CYA level in the pool. Unfortunately, an accurate test for CYA is hard to come by. You won't find one for sale at a pool store and the test that the pool store does is likely to be inaccurate as well. So, you need to buy a good test kit like the TF-100 at http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html.

    Once you get your test kit, post a full set of results. In the mean time, the kit you have now probably does a good job of measuring pH so you should make sure your pH is in the 7.2-7.8 range.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    Welcome

    Definitely get that pH fixed. You'll need to raise TA, too. If you study Pool School, you'll see that you can fix both with Borax and Baking Soda, both of which are available at grocery stores, Target, Walmart, etc. Or pay 4X and buy them at the pool store. That needs to happen before the plaster starts crumbling and the heater rots out. And even if there were no algae, I imagine swimmers would get out with burning eyes, straw-like hair, and tight, dry, itchy skin.

    Once you get a CYA value, you can decide if you need to drain and refill any water, or if you can go straight to the shock process.
    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: Total newbie and confused

    Sadly, I am responsible for the pool, so need to learn fast. I have been reading in the pool school section.

    I knew I have to raise the ph, and that the TA was a problem too, but I wasn't sure if I needed to do that before or after tackling the staining.

    Borax - 20 Mule Team Borax? I have two boxes in the basement right now. I love that stuff. I have baking soda on the Costco list as well, the small boxes just seem woefully inadequate.
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    Quote Originally Posted by klescinsky
    Sadly, I am responsible for the pool, so need to learn fast. I have been reading in the pool school section.

    I knew I have to raise the ph, and that the TA was a problem too, but I wasn't sure if I needed to do that before or after tackling the staining.

    Borax - 20 Mule Team Borax? I have two boxes in the basement right now. I love that stuff. I have baking soda on the Costco list as well, the small boxes just seem woefully inadequate.
    Does it look like this?


    That's the stuff.

    Locally for me, Costco sells Baking Soda 13.5lb bag $6.16. A large national chain that shall remaion nameless will sell you alkalinity increaser (100% sodium bicarbonate) $21.99 for ten pounds! You've just saved fifteen bucks!
    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: Total newbie and confused

    Why yes it does! Genius. I knew Costco had the big bags of baking soda, and we do plan to go there tomorrow after work.

    So I need to address the ph issue first, before the staining?
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    Quote Originally Posted by klescinsky
    Why yes it does! Genius. I knew Costco had the big bags of baking soda, and we do plan to go there tomorrow after work.

    So I need to address the ph issue first, before the staining?
    Yes. pH needs to always be maintained. No matter what.

    I'd clear the pool before I worried about the freckles. The reason being is that to do a full ascorbic acid treatment to remove the iron stains, FC needs to go to zero and an algaecide added. They're unsightly, but not a health hazard or anything, so get the pool clear and balanced and get comfortable maintaining things before you add another layer of confusion.
    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: Total newbie and confused

    OK I added in the baking soda, how long should I wait to test to get a reliable number?
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    30-60 minutes.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    OK. Excellent. Thank you.

    Will get the better test kit ordered this weekend, but here's where I stand now:

    FC 2
    CC 2
    PH 7.6
    TA 100

    I noticed that the water "feels" better when I reached in to get my water sample. Will take a sample to the pool store tomorrow, after work, but it is clear and sparkly, and would be perfect blue if not for the staining. Will post those results as soon as I have them.
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    OK, I just got back from the pool store.

    Test results:
    FC 1.59
    TC 1.88
    CC .29
    pH 7.5
    Hardness 69
    TA 131
    CYA 107
    Copper .1
    Iron 0

    I am stocked up on Borax, Baking Soda, and a couple of gallon of regular bleach - Wegmans had 8.75%.

    My new cartridges will be here on Monday, and I still have all of that unsightly staining to deal with, but my water is crystal clear and sparkling. It's not freckling, it's the entire pool stained, and it happened overnight when the cartridges seemed to give up. I have the asorbic acid and the metal sequestrant, and polyquat. Should I wait until after the new cartridges are here? I don't these these ones are filtering much of anything at this point.

    You guys seriously rock. I am feeling better about this whole thing now.
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    You do not need borax or baking soda. You may need to lower the CYA and you certainly need to maintain higher FC levels and you need a test kit.

    Stop wasting money buying chemicals that you do not need.
    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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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    Quote Originally Posted by klescinsky
    OK, I just got back from the pool store.

    Test results:
    FC 1.59
    TC 1.88
    CC .29
    pH 7.5
    Hardness 69
    TA 131
    CYA 107
    Copper .1
    Iron 0

    I am stocked up on Borax, Baking Soda, and a couple of gallon of regular bleach - Wegmans had 8.75%.

    My new cartridges will be here on Monday, and I still have all of that unsightly staining to deal with, but my water is crystal clear and sparkling. It's not freckling, it's the entire pool stained, and it happened overnight when the cartridges seemed to give up. I have the asorbic acid and the metal sequestrant, and polyquat. Should I wait until after the new cartridges are here? I don't these these ones are filtering much of anything at this point.

    You guys seriously rock. I am feeling better about this whole thing now.
    If the water is clear, the filters are filtering. Personally, I'd change them after the AA treatment. You never know what they'll end up looking like.



    That's copper, not iron, but you get the idea...

    Your high CYA level also needs to be addressed. Personally, after the iron stain is lifted, I'd look at draining about half of the pool and refilling it. Try using the search box - it's up there next to where you log out - for partial drain threads. I just don't feel like typing the same cautions again and again...

    It's much easier to maintain a pool with reasonable CYA levels.
    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!

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Total newbie and confused

    OK, thanks. I will deal with the staining tomorrow then. Might as well totally kill of these cartridges. It seems to shoot sediment back in, so I am on the daily vac right now.

    I ordered the better test kit, so waiting to get CYA results when it arrives this week. Those are pool store test results, and I have read to take those with a grain of salt? No more 3" pucks, so I won't be adding to the issue.

    Frankly, I am not draining and refilling if I have to pay for the water. At that point my landlord needs to step in and write that check. I don't even want to know what the water bill would be. Not worth my investment since our lease is up in September, so I am going to have to deal with it the best I can. If it's unsafe, I need to make my case to her as to why it needs fixed, so off to search on that and learn more. I am sure there are threads on this board that will help.

    As to the comment above, I don't think I am wasting money on unnecessary chemicals? I am following the advice here for balancing and then dealing with the staining. I prefer to keep a stock of bleach, Borax, and baking soda, especially since I use the last two items for multiple things. The ugly staining all over the lining is unsightly, and I need to fix it before one of my neighbors (who are irritated that they will not be using said pool this summer) complains to the HOA that I am not maintaining it and blah blah blah.
    16,000 gallons/ cartridge filter/ in ground fiberglass

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