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Thread: New pool owner! - testing and...results on Pg 2

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    New pool owner! - testing and...results on Pg 2

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for the wealth of information on this site. It really is invaluable to new pool owners like me.

    I bought a home near Boston, MA with an existing inground pool that was opened and maintained by the previous owner (not a pool pro). He didn't use the K 2006 test kit, but instead brought a bottle of water to the pool store for advice on the chemicals needed. The water is clear and we've actually swam in it a few times already, but ignorance is bliss, I guess. With the heavy rains over the last week, I'm hoping to properly care for the pool, and will read Pool School and the other threads on this forum.

    However, the family is on my case to get the pool up and running ASAP (no Father's day break for me). I'm trying to create a list of basic things to buy, so could you please tell me:

    - What's the best place to get the test kits and chemicals? For example, Leslies sells the K 2006 for ~$90 and it's on Amazon for ~$50, but I'll bite the bullet if I can get the pool functioning this weekend.
    - What are the basic chemicals I'll need over time to maintain the pool, regardless of the test results? And the amounts? Again, buying online is cheaper, but I might buy local this one time to get the pool going sooner.
    - Are there any tools (e.g. baskets for tabs) that I'll need to release the chemicals into the pool?
    - What else should I buy up front (this weekend) that I'll eventually need to maintain the pool?

    Thanks so much and Happy Fathers' Day to all. I will be back often to this forum.

    SM
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Welcome to TFP!

    Test kit - TFTestKits.net

    Chemicals vary depending on the chemical. TA Increaser - grocery store. Chlorine - often bleach from WalMart but sometimes liquid chlorine from a pool store. CYA - Amazon. Salt - Lowes or Home Depot. And so on.

    The main thing you use constantly is chlorine. It is always good to have something to increase PH and something to reduce PH, but you may or may not end up using them regularly. CYA, Borates, and Salt are usually only needed once a season. TA Increaser and CH increaser are once a season for most people, but may never be needed or might be needed monthly depending.

    A plastic measuring cup.

    Make sure you have a pool brush, leaf rake, and pole.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Congrats for becoming a new (to you) pool owner, and finding this site!

    Mainly, you will need the test kit, for accurate chem levels. You can order from here, or Amazon. While you wait for it to arrive, go to your local Walmart and buy the HTH 6-way kit. While not a details and accurate as the recommended kits, it will get you by.

    As you probably already know, we advocate the simplest of methods for pool care I've ever found.

    Basic needs will be some form of liquid chlorine, be it plain laundry bleach, LC from a pool supply or wherever; Muriatic acid; possibly baking soda; and borax (20 mule team, Walmart laundry isle).

    Of course, the bleach would be the second thing you need on hand, the first being some sort of test kit.

    Good luck in your new adventure, and Welcome to the fun!

    Edit: Dang it JasonLion! you beat me to it!
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie_R
    Congrats for becoming a new (to you) pool owner, and finding this site!

    Edit: Dang it JasonLion! you beat me to it!
    Nice Welcome Charles. Jason does it to me all the time. He's fast and he's stealthy.

    Welcome to TFP SM, you came to the right place. You won't find better info than you will here. The amount of knowledge between the owners, mods, and special contributors can't be beat.
    TFP Moderator
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    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    Join Date
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Welcome SM!

    About chemicals being cheaper online, that may not be always true. Since you live in MA you can buy pool chemicals for cheap at Ocean State Job Lot.
    26,000 gal 18x36' IG Vinyl Pool - Hayward S244T Sand filter - Hayward Tri-star 2-speed 1.5HP pump - Goldline Aqua Plus SWCG and Controller with Tcell-15 - Aquacomfort 125K BTU Heatpump - Hayward Color Comfort 4.0 LED - Zodiac MX8 suction cleaner - TF100 test kit
    My Build thread

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for the wealth of information on this site. It really is invaluable to new pool owners like me.

    I bought a home near Boston, MA with an existing inground pool that was opened and maintained by the previous owner (not a pool pro). He didn't use the K 2006 test kit, but instead brought a bottle of water to the pool store for advice on the chemicals needed. The water is clear and we've actually swam in it a few times already, but ignorance is bliss, I guess. With the heavy rains over the last week, I'm hoping to properly care for the pool, and will read Pool School and the other threads on this forum.

    However, the family is on my case to get the pool up and running ASAP (no Father's day break for me). I'm trying to create a list of basic things to buy, so could you please tell me:

    - What's the best place to get the test kits and chemicals? For example, Leslies sells the K 2006 for ~$90 and it's on Amazon for ~$50, but I'll bite the bullet if I can get the pool functioning this weekend.
    - What are the basic chemicals I'll need over time to maintain the pool, regardless of the test results? And the amounts? Again, buying online is cheaper, but I might buy local this one time to get the pool going sooner.
    - Are there any tools (e.g. baskets for tabs) that I'll need to release the chemicals into the pool?
    - What else should I buy up front (this weekend) that I'll eventually need to maintain the pool?

    Thanks so much and Happy Fathers' Day to all. I will be back often to this forum.

    SM
    Just to make sure your pool is clean you can add about 1 or 2 gallons of 8.25% clorox. 1 gallon will get you up to 4ppm and 2 gallons will get you up to 8ppm.

    If there is no CYA then the chlorine will probably be gone the next day so you will need to do it again. Chances are though the former owner used pucks so there is probably a lot of CYA in the pool (which protects the chlorine from the sun but requires higher chlorine levels).

    The big things you want to check are pH and FC because a low pH will damage the pool. Low free chlorine is not sanitary and algae can grow. Once algae starts growing what would have taken 5 minutes to prevent will take many hours to fix.

    I personally would just go to the store and get the k2006. One problem with it is it only has enough reagent for 3 CYA tests. Keep in mind with the CYA test you can keep pouring it back into the mixing bottle (NOT REAGENT BOTTLE) and pouring it into the test tube to try again if you arent sure. So you could use your 3 CYA tests as follows

    1) mix CYA reagents
    2) run test
    3) pour back into mixing bottle
    4) run test

    5)add 75% of the CYA you think you need based on current levels
    6) wait a few days
    7) run test

    8) add the last bit of CYA you think you need
    9) run test


    At this point you could have ordered more CYA (I only run the test once every 4-5 months) but in the beginning you will probably need 5-6 tests worth. (7 ml per test run). I have a very large bottle of CYA reagent bought from amazon
    17,800 gallon, IG pool, 595 sq feet (17x35x4.5 avg rectangle), Hayward 525 cartridge filter, diamondbrite, 2 hp 2 speed hayward tristar filter, Stenner 45mhp10 automatically chlorinating

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    I like the tf test kit I bought through here. In your case I would probably bite the bullet pay more to buy that kit that's local so you have it out of the chute & just plan on buying your reagents through TF Test Kits ~ I would order the reagent for CYA and the one for checking FC (think it's called R0871, but don't hold me to that)immediately through TF Test Kits. You'll need both of those at start up & TF Ships quick, nicely packaged).

    Get a solid set of numbers from the kit you pick up locally & go from there. Test your ph ~ you need to adjust that before you can get into the shocking process, then test your CYA. The CYA test does take a little time to get the feel of (to where you have a confidence you have an as solid as it gets with that test, number). Your pool was probably pucked to death (as you mentioned the previous owner took his sample to the pool store and they guided him) so I would also think your CYA is high and that could mean a possible water exchange or if you opt not to exchange it, stock up on bleach.

    Get all your debris out with the vac, brush the whole pool. I would take the steps out if you are able and clean those, as well as cleaning around the lights really any nook and cranny can use a good scrubbing.. When I started I let my filter go 24-7. A new gauge might not be a bad item to purchase just so you know you are working with one that functions properly. I tested my levels, had a solid reading on the cya, in my case I needed to add some, so once I began shocking I shocked at the level I assumed would show up in the pool when the test would work (takes about a week as I used granular). once I started I tested frequently, kept the water in shock mode & brushed and vacuumed as often as I could.

    If you follow the methods here with some dedication, keeping that water at shock level (a minimum of shock level, but no need for overkill)
    until you pass all (3) criteria to let the levels fall to maintenance your water will clear. It does take some doing to get it done, but if you go out today, get your supplies and have at it (again with dedication) you'll will be good to go in short order. Take a moment to order the reagents you can anticipate needing (CYA & FC) so you have them en route when you need them.

    Take pictures, it's fun to see the progress & good luck
    AGP: 27' x 52" : 17,500 gallon
    300 lb. Sand Filter (75 gpm) / 1.5 hp pump
    Full Sun ~ All Day

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Wow, all these replies already! Thanks all.

    To help you help me, here's what the previous owner left me:

    - Tub of GLB 3" Tablets of Stabilized Chlorinating Concentrate
    - HTH Clarifier (1 - balance) that's never been used
    - Leslie's Calcium Hardness Increaser - powder
    - Leslie's Hardness Plus Adjuster - powder
    - 1/2 bag of Diatomaceous Earth

    - Taylor basic test kit to test: Chlorine, Bromine, and pH

    Will that test kit be a good start or just a waste of time? If I get some free moments today, I may buy the K 2006 locally and start from there.
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    Wow, all these replies already! Thanks all.

    To help you help me, here's what the previous owner left me:

    - Tub of GLB 3" Tablets of Stabilized Chlorinating Concentrate

    Until you know your CYA (stabilizer) level best not to use

    - HTH Clarifier (1 - balance) that's never been used

    If you follow the advice on this forum, you will probably not need

    - Leslie's Calcium Hardness Increaser - powder

    If your pool IS vinyl, you don't need AT ALL. If concrete/gunite, you may need

    - Leslie's Hardness Plus Adjuster - powder

    Don't know about this one

    - 1/2 bag of Diatomaceous Earth

    If your filter is a DE, you will need this

    - Taylor basic test kit to test: Chlorine, Bromine, and pH

    It will do for the most basic tests, but for REAL numbers on what is in your pool, the Taylor K-2006 or TF100 is what you need.

    Will that test kit be a good start or just a waste of time? If I get some free moments today, I may buy the K 2006 locally and start from there.
    Note on the kit that may be available locally: Make sure it is the 2006 NOT the 2005. The 2005 is still a color match for chlorine levels, and has some limitations. See Pool School for more details.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    I just made a small donation and look forward to getting the TF 100 kit. I will report back with the numbers, but in the meantime, please throw any tips you have my way! I need to get the pool ready asap! Thanks again.
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie_R
    Quote Originally Posted by gb99
    or]

    - 1/2 bag of Diatomaceous Earth

    If your filter is a DE, you will need this
    Note on the kit that may be available locally: Make sure it is the 2006 NOT the 2005. The 2005 is still a color match for chlorine levels, and has some limitations. See Pool School for more details.
    What's a DE filter?
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    There are basically 3 types of filters.

    Cartridge, Sand and Diatomaceous Earth.

    Cart filters obviously have a cartridge that must be removed for cleaning and/or replacement.

    Sand filters have sand that the water is forced through.

    DE filters have a set of grids that hold the DE that the water is forced through.

    Look at the labels on your filter to know for sure which it is.

    Here you will find a visual reference of a lot of standard pool equipment.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    I've been reading a lot and have some questions while I wait for test kit to arrive.

    - Walmart had "stabilizer" but I didn't see cyanuric acid listed on the contents label. Are they the same thing?
    - when putting it in front of the return jet, should the sock with CYA be submerged?
    - are the bags of "shock" sold in stores worth it or do you recommend using bleach in quantities specified in Pool School?

    Thanks
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    1. Yes, it's the same thing but it really should have list the ingredients....I think it's there somewhere.

    2. It can float if it wants to but most I have seen stay submerged. either way.

    3. Use chlorine...PLEASE. The other stuff has unnecessary side effects that can be confusing and troublesome.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    I received the TF100 test kit today and have the results to share. I really need help in getting the pool in shape, so please let me know what chemicals it needs to be safe for swimming. The water is clear, but the test results indicate some work is needed.

    Background: it's rained a lot over the last two weeks. The pool is clear and I run the filter about 12 hours a day. I also run the Polaris pool vacuum every couple of days. The approximate volume is ~21,000 gallons or so. Pool liner present.

    Chlorine Drop Test: no change in color, so no chlorine is in the pool.
    Total Alkaline Test: 120 or 130 (the color didn't change after about 12 or 13 drops)
    CYA: between 85 - 90
    Calcium: about 320
    pH: about 7.5 - 7.8
    Cl and Br: 0

    So what's the next steps? Stock up on bleach? Thank you all for your help.
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Yes, bleach. Use The Pool Calculator to see about how much you will need.

    Assuming no SWCG, you might want to replace at least 1/3 of your water to bring that CYA down to reasonable level.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Oh man, I wasn't expecting to replace water! Do I really have to replace the water? I imagine that will get expensive.

    Should I shock the pool now or replace water and then shock? At CYA of 90, the shock level of FC is 35. Do I need really need to go that high on the FC for shocking?

    Also, do I just put the filter pump in reverse (can't remember exact name of setting on the lever) to drain water from the pool? What are some ways to capture that water for plants, grass, etc? Seems like an awful waste of water!

    Finally, do I do the overnight lost test now, after shocking, or after replacing the water?

    Thanks!!!
    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    I know its difficult to trust a bunch of strangers on some forum who are telling you to 1st buy some kit, then drain 1/2 your pools water. Fact of the matter is however....we can be trusted. This method does in fact work.

    Shocking now will only increase your CYA levels, and give you increased headaches as you will never reach levels high enough to control the algae. By lowering the CYA levels first you will set yourself up to be able to clean the pool with only needing liquid chlorine. This will also help lower your calcium levels.....which are also a bit on the high side. The pool store will suggest dumping in various chemicals, leading you all over the place..... Most at about $20 a pop. All we will suggest is fresh water, and then liquid chlorine.....$3 a gallon.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    To be clear...Shocking your pool will increase your CYA levels ONLY if you use Tri-Chlor, or Di-Chlor. It will NOT increase if you just use bleach/liquid Chlorine.

    Again, using Bleach as your source for shock will NOT increase your CYA level.

    To make your pool safe for swimming, you need to get the FC level up to at least 7 and use 10 for your target level at a CYA of 90. Yes it would be much better if your CYA were cut down to about half. Any reduction is good as the high level will cause you to use more Chlorine to maintain your minimum. target and shock FC levels. At least for now, concentrate on getting the FC level in range and go from there.
    TFP Moderator
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    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: New pool owner! - testing and shopping list questions

    Thanks for the replies.

    Do CYA levels ever naturally drop? If I replace the water now, what are the chances that CYA will rise again and I'll need to drain and refill again? The pool is outdoors and gets a fair amount of sunlight exposure, so what's the maximum CYA level you'd recommend?

    Rookie question: do I just drain the pool water out using the filter pump in reverse mode, then throw a garden hose into the pool and fill?

    The pool calculator says to replace about 35% of the pool's water. Is there anything else I should do while the water level is lowered (i.e. any "while I'm in there" kind of things)?

    I'm guessing I should also order up some solid CYA in case the levels are too low after the water replacement?

    Inground pool; about 20,000 gallons (18' x 36'); pool liner (vinyl?) a few years old; Haywood pump SPX2607X10

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