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Thread: New to TFP...need basic help!

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    New to TFP...need basic help!

    We have had the cheap above ground pools (Intex) for about 10 yrs now. In 2012 we upgraded to the 26' size and bought a salt water system as well. It only took me about a year or so to figure out I did not need to spend alot of money on chemicals from pool stores, and for the most part, over the past 10 years, I've only added a cheap shock packet from Walmart once/twice a week and our water has always, ALWAYS been crystal clear.

    Last year (2012 - the first year with the bigger pool/SWG) we did not have a drop of rain all summer long. Pool water was crystal clear all summer long. I didn't add a thing to the water other than 1 bottle of Backup Algecide to get rid of biting bugs.

    This year has been like all the others. I started up the pool mid-June, added the appropriate salt, turned on the SWG and have had crystal clear water all this time. Until....this past Sun. We received 1.5 inches of rain and during the rainfall our electricity kicked out for a second, shutting off the filter. Since it was Sun and we were busy for the day, it didn't click in my mind until Mon morn that nothing had been running for about 24 hrs. I went out to check things and found the water cloudy.

    I turned on the SWG and kicked in the 'boost' to jump start it, added about 12 oz of Algecide, and let the pump/filter run about 24 hrs. Nothing has changed...water is still cloudy.

    I called a pool store and they said I'm low on chlorine. I tested the water with test strips and that would appear to be accurate. The chlorine shows up as non-existant.

    From reading this site, I understand that test strips are not always accurate. I need to invest in a good test kit. Since we live in a very rural area, I'm guessing I would not get it for at least 4-7 days. Likewise, we are an hour from any large city with pool stores/Walmart.

    Please advise what to do to get by until the test kit arrives and I can have accurate readings. Should I/can I shock the pool with bleach from the grocery store? Should I make the hour drive to a pool store and buy other chemicals? My test strips show that the chlorine is low, the PH is off the chart high (it always has been and I've never had a problem), and the total alkalinity is perfect. Are there any chemicals I should have on hand?

    Again...I know the test strips are less than ideal......can anyone advise for a temporary fix to the cloudy water until more accurate testing can be done?
    Intex 26' Ultra Frame Pool; approx 15,000 gallons; Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16" & Saltwater System Model CS20110

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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Quote Originally Posted by tcglanzer
    Please advise what to do to get by until the test kit arrives and I can have accurate readings. Should I/can I shock the pool with bleach from the grocery store?
    Yes, in fact plain, unscented bleach is the most recommended chlorine source on this site. It is inexpensive and is exactly the same as liquid chlorine, just a bit more diluted.

    Without knowing the specifics you would get from a good test kit you are doing this blind, but getting your chlorine levels up while you wait will help get things moving.

    In the meantime you should do some reading in Pool School. Most importantly the article on SLAM (the shock process), and the entire Getting Started section.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    Welcome to the forum.

    Since your chlorine was so low, you will likely need to SLAM it. You can proactively buy bleach/liquid chlorine if you're going to a grocery store/hardware store anyways. I wouldn't make a special trip yet for anything else, because you don't know what you need. The basic principle of BBB is only putting into your pool what your pool needs.

    Please put your full pool and equipment specs in your signature and we can help you limp along until you get the test kit. Also put your location in your profile.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    Test kit finally arrived at noon! I immediately started tests on the water.

    To back up a bit, I've been adding approx 1 gal of 8.25% bleach daily. The water cleared up nicely, yet every 24 hrs it starts to get a hint of cloudiness again. I've been testing the water with the leftover test strips I had. Results varied from adequate chlorine to zero. Thus adding the gallon of bleach whenever I received a zero reading.

    Sun afternoon I saw the pool needed vacuuming. I worked over an hour vacuuming up 'stuff'. I'm not sure what it was.....looked like normal dirt that drifted in from the air (we live in the country on a gravel road, so I am used to needing to vacuum at least twice a week, more if we have a windy spell). However, as I vacuumed, I couldn't decipher if it really was dirt or some sort of algae. There was also a hint of greenish/brown tinge in spots of the walls, and as I rubbed them loose, they had a hint of sliminess to them. This confirmed my thoughts that I perhaps have an algae problem.

    I worked my hour cleaning things up and the water was crystal clear when I quit at 530pm. At 7pm, our daughter's boyfriend and his family arrived and were checking out the pool. I was so proud that everything looked so nice. We had a campfire and the kids hopped in the pool around 9ish.

    Suddenly, they were chased out by those darn backswimmer bugs! Which I thought came only when you have an algae problem. The water was just infested with them. The test strip showed zero chlorine, so in went another gallon of bleach. This morning, the water was clean.

    Back to testing at noon. My first FC test showed .5, tho my husband and I differed on whether the water actually turned pink or not. I say no and that there is zero chlorine. He felt there was a pinkish 'tinge'. We tested again an hour later and he now agrees the water is clear, not pink. Therefore, we have no chlorine.

    CC chlorine measured .5 (is that possible with no FC?)
    Alkalinity was 90
    CYA reading was null.....I did it twice and the black dot at the bottom of the cylinder never disappeared. Am I doing something wrong?

    Please advise on my next step. I'm thinking to start the SLAM process now that I can get accurate chlorine readings.

    Thanks for your help!!!!
    Intex 26' Ultra Frame Pool; approx 15,000 gallons; Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16" & Saltwater System Model CS20110

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    Congrats on the kit!

    Looks like you have zero FC and zero CYA.

    So, make sure your pH is in mid to low 7's and start the SLAM process.

    Your FC shock level for now is 10.

    Add about 30 CYA via sock method in front of return.

    After the CYA is dissolved, the new shock level is about 12.

    Use the Pool Calculator to figure the doses.

    Welcome to the forum
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    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    I'm trying to find the answer on my own and feel bad asking.....how do I add CYA? Is that something I need to purchase from a pool store?
    Intex 26' Ultra Frame Pool; approx 15,000 gallons; Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16" & Saltwater System Model CS20110

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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    You can get it at pool stores or at big box stores like Walmart. It is usually sold as stabilizer or conditioner, in the active ingredients area it will have some form of cyanuric acid (it could be a big word with cyanuric in the middle). I would personally suggest just going to Walmart, it will be cheaper and nobody will try convincing you to buy other chemicals. HTH sells it at walmart in a white and purple container.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    As I mentioned in my first post, we live an hour from any big store. I am making a trip to the city on Wed. Is that soon enough or is it urgent that I make a trip today and get it in asap?
    Intex 26' Ultra Frame Pool; approx 15,000 gallons; Intex Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump 16" & Saltwater System Model CS20110

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    Re: New to TFP...need basic help!

    Good to do it ASAP as right now sunlight will destroy your chlorine very quickly, but you can start by doing the first 2 steps Butterfly stated. You shock level is 10 until you get the CYA so now you have the information you need to start SLAMing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly
    So, make sure your pH is in mid to low 7's and start the SLAM process.

    Your FC shock level for now is 10.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
    Pool School - PoolMath - HIGHLY Recommended Test Kits

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