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Thread: Opening Pool for the First Time

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Constantia, NY
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    Opening Pool for the First Time

    Hello -

    We recently bought a house and a pool came with it! The previous owners did not open the pool this spring - so it's been left to us. We suspect that they did not do a great job in closing the pool last fall. The pool is an above ground model, about 14,400 gallons and has a DE filter. I'm at work - so don't have any other details. I can get them tonight if needed. It's about 20 years old.

    On Saturday 6/22 we pulled the cover back to a green pool with some leaves on the bottom and a little bit of algae on the sides. Using what the previous owners had left, we vacuumed the pool (after realizing we were clogging the filter we started vacuuming to waste late Saturday) three times. Also on Saturday, we added 2 chlorine tabs to the chlorinator and add two bags of Utlima TKO to the pool. After discovering this forum on Sunday, I have doubts that was our best course of action. We have cleaned the filter twice now - and added more DE to the pool near the skimmer each time.

    Late yesterday, the pool looked pretty good - blue with a very minimal amount of debris (think a couple of twigs and a few leaves) on the bottom. However, this morning we had brown "silt" on the bottom in some areas.

    I'm ordering a TF-100 test kit today. I do have test strips at hand.

    1.) How should I proceed tonight without the test kit? Is adding more bleach (Clorox style) recommended tonight?
    2.) While I'm stabilizing the pool, how often/long should the pump be run?
    3.) Once the pool is "normal" how often/long should the pump be run?

    I've read numerous articles/posts on the forum and appreciate all the information - I've already learned a lot.

    Thanks!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool for the First Time

    Welcome to TFP!

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    I'm ordering a TF-100 test kit today.
    Good choice This is Step 1 of properly managing your pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    We added 2 chlorine tabs to the chlorinator and add two bags of Utlima TKO to the pool.
    The tabs add cyanuric acid (CYA) to the pool. The CYA level is a major determinant in how much chlorine should be added to the pool for adequate sanitation. The Ultima TKO is 73% calcium hypochlorite (cal-hypo) which adds calcium.

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    1.) How should I proceed tonight without the test kit? Is adding more bleach (Clorox style) recommended tonight?
    While you are waiting on the test kit I would (1) Primarily focus on getting as much debris as possible out of your pool, (2) Stock up on bleach over the next couple of days - you will need a lot, and (3) Make sure you have read these Pool School articles at a minimum: ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry, Basic Pool Care Schedule, Recommended Pool Chemicals, How to Chlorinate Your Pool, Chlorine CYA Chart, The Shock Process. Things will begin to make much more sense after reading these.

    As for adding bleach in the interim (while waiting for your test kit), this is always a tough one to answer without good test results - too much guesswork with potentially few benefits. Depending on where you are located, you should have the kit in 2-3 days. Given that timetable, there is no harm in adding some bleach to the pool at about 5 ppm which is ~109 oz of 8.25% bleach for your pool if you are so desiring. This might help prevent things from getting much worse before the test kit arrives but that's about it. The trade-off is that this bleach would be sacrificed while the benefit (in this case) is negligible. I would still focus my efforts on removing the debris as outlined above over the next couple of days - that will definitely be time & effort well spent as you will soon find out. Doing that well and adding no bleach over the next couple of days would do more good than ignoring the debris while haphazardly adding bleach. Once you get your kit, post a full set of test results - you will then have ample opportunities to add a proper amount of bleach.

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    2.) While I'm stabilizing the pool, how often/long should the pump be run?
    By "stabilizing", I'm assuming you mean clearing the pool up from the algae. The term we use for clearing up the pool from algae or other organic contamination is The Shock Process. The pump should be run 24/7 until you pass the criteria outlined in the article. You will need the TF-100 in order to begin the Shock Process.

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    3.) Once the pool is "normal" how often/long should the pump be run?
    Follow the suggestions here: Determine Pump Run Time


    A couple of things to help us help you...
    • 1. Please add to your profile the state and nearest city in which you live. Your climate is important to the advice you receive. By doing this, it will appear in all your posts without you having to enter it each time.
      2. Suggest adding information about your pool and related equipment in your signature. By doing this, it will automatically appear in all your posts so you do not have to re-enter it each time. If you have a SWG, please include those letters in your signature so it stands out as the advice for SWG vs. non-SWG is often different.

    Here's how to do both of the above: Adding location to your profile and pool info to your signature.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
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    Constantia, NY
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    Re: Opening Pool for the First Time

    Thank you for your reply. I've added my city & state and will add my pool information when I get home tonight.

    I've read the articles you linked to (including finding the pump one AFTER my initial post ) and am still a little lost. I think the test kit will help understand the specific issues I have with the pool and then the articles will make a lot more sense!

    It sounds like I need to vacuum so the pool is clean tonight (like I stated earlier - not a lot, just a few twigs and leaves that the vacuum had a tough time with) and be patient. Since I am not Shocking the pool yet, should I be running the pump?

    The Shock Process states "DE filters are usually much faster than that, but require frequent attention when cleaning up algae." Is frequent attention bumping it or removing it completely and cleaning it? Or a combination of both?

    Thanks again - looking forward to getting the kit and getting some reliable data!

  4. Back To Top    #4
    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Opening Pool for the First Time

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    I've read the articles you linked to (including finding the pump one AFTER my initial post ) and am still a little lost. I think the test kit will help understand the specific issues I have with the pool and then the articles will make a lot more sense!
    The test kit will certainly help cement what is in these articles. After running & recording your first test results, I would take another pass through these articles. They will begin to make more sense. When you post your results and see our recommendations, that will also help.

    Quote Originally Posted by KMEichhorn
    The Shock Process states "DE filters are usually much faster than that, but require frequent attention when cleaning up algae." Is frequent attention bumping it or removing it completely and cleaning it? Or a combination of both?
    What this statement means is that DE filters will capture more algae than either sand or cartridge in the same amount of time. As a result, the filter needs to be cleaned/backwashed more frequently. Keep an eye on your pressure gauge - when it rises about 25% above the starting pressure for a clean filter, it's time to clean/backwash.

    BTW, even though you have not started the shock process, I would still run your filter, especially while cleaning out the debris. Would run it as you are cleaning/vacuuming since this will stir up finer debris that will be captured by the filter. After you finish a round of manual cleaning/vacuuming, continue running it for a couple of hours or so after that. The cleaner you can get the pool now, the quicker you will get through the shock process and use less bleach. The importance of doing this manual cleaning as prep work for the shock process cannot be overstated - it will pay big dividends.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Jun 2013
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    Constantia, NY
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    Re: Opening Pool for the First Time

    Just a quick update -

    UPS has mis-sorted my package, meaning my test kit won't be here until Monday. UGH. I won't be able to work on the pool the first two weeks of July due to travel.

    The filter has been running - I'm going to vacuum tonight or tomorrow. Not sure if it's really worth it since the pool is just going to sit now until mid-July. I'm bummed!

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Constantia, NY
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    Re: Opening Pool for the First Time

    I got my test kit today!! Hopefully I did the tests right - seemed pretty straightforward.

    Here are the results:

    FC - 16
    CC - 0
    pH - 7.5
    TA - 120
    CH - 270
    CYA - 32


    So, it appears that my FC is very high, and a high TA. I understand I can lower the TA by lowering the ph - correct? As far as the FC - I just need to let that work out, right?

    I have a little algae around the corners of the pool where the floor and wall meet - got a brush today and will be scrubbing tonight.

    Thanks for the advice!

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Re: Opening Pool for the First Time

    Keep testing your chlorine levels, you want to keep it at shock level and it could fall fast as it kills all the bad stuff. Adjust other levels after you have completed the shock process. Also Ph readings can test falsely high when fc is over 10.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

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