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Thread: OMG! My pool is ill!

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    OMG! My pool is ill!

    I had a pool pro do my pool for over 10 years. I have been doing it myself for 3. This past month, it's been cloudy and would not clear up even with shock. Can't see the drain. I bought this home in '91 at a forclosure auction. Great deal, but a lot of work. The pool was a swamp and all the pump equipment was gone. The house had been empty for 2 yrs, pool had water but no attention...literally it was a swamp. It was drained, cleaned and brought back to life. The pool guy finally concluded that the main drain was either completely blocked with sediment or cemented up, so my only circulation is through the side intake with the leaf basket. It's a challenging pool to say the least. I have several issues right now and want to do them in the correct order so I don't waste money on duplicating chemicals, etc. I took a water sample to LP Supply and these were their results: (they told me to shock & sold me a $30 bottle of Clear & Perfect...no worky)

    FC- 0
    TC- 0
    CH- 750
    CYA- 100
    TA- 100
    pH- 7.8
    TDS- 1000
    Pho- 100

    I know everybody is freaking out about now. After reading other forums and Pool School, I know I need to SLAM. I know I also need to partially drain because my CH & CYA are soooo high. Here's my delima, I live in S-Central Texas, we have been in a severe drought for several years now. Some cities and counties are already on stage 3 water restrictions. My particular area is on stage 2 and knocking on stage 3. I live in an area where everyone has their own water well. Folks are running out of water and having to redrill deeper to find water. Drillers are a month out. It's pretty scary. The water is very hard here with traces of iron. Paritally draining my pool is not an option at this time and I would like to get it as clear as I can without this step. Will adding water softener salt help with the performance of the SLAM?

    I purchased the T-100 test kit as recommended and did my own testing. Here are my results.

    CL- 0
    TA- 100
    CH- 1200 (not sure if I did this right, used the speedstir the whole test, is that correct?)
    CYA- 90
    pH- 7.7

    What are your thoughts??? Thank you in advance.
    1978, 23K - 25K IG, freeform, gunite/plaster, diving, oak tree canopy, sand 1991 (sz. ?), 1.5 HP pump 2012

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Welcome to TFP. Pray for us some rain! Your two problems as you mentioned are not anything you can do very much about right now. Use plain old bleach to chlorinate with (no pucks or cal-hypo shock) and run that pump 24/7. Lower your PH to 7.2. Pool calculator in pool school will tell you how much of what to add. Chlorine/cya chart will tell you your target levels you need to maintain for that cya. Test your tap water for calcium hardness. Is that high level just due to cal-hypo? Did I mention pray for rain?
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Welcome Cat from West Tx. I was just through your neck of the woods on my way to SA...Lavernia area actually, but I get down there often.

    You are on the right track, and a big pat on the back. You got a good kit, and you are learning already and on the right track. Get the SLAM going and we can work it from there. Unfortunately, the CH is a killer and I deal with it here. I am going to have to truck in water to fill a 32K gallon pool when we build so I feel your pain. It may be the best option for you too. There is very, very soft water not far from you and I bet you can get it trucked there reasonably. I say that, but .05/gallon is the best I have found here, but it is twice as good or a little better than my well. We too are in severe drought as you may already know. Midland here.... But yes, softener will absolutely help, it just won't be enough to make a reasonable dent with your pool volume. It won't hurt, but know you'll have to plan for regen timing and lots of salt use if you do it, and see little change. If we get you softer, replacement daily will benefit you though. Update us and ask questions. We love helping those who make the effort to learn how to help themselves. Again...welcome to TFP.

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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    This sounds like a good case for a reverse osmosis treatment if you can find it in your area.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Thanks so much for the kind welcome and excellent advice. And yes...PRAY FOR RAIN. It's crazy but I even dream of rain, then I wake up... TFP is awesome, I wish I had known about it sooner! I have a softener for the house so my water from the tap is CH 20. The water from the hose I fill the pool with is 120, that's why I was thinking the water softener salt would help with the CH in the pool. I'm sure it's so high because I have been using the cal-hypo and pucks for the 3 years I've been doing it myself. I was unaware of the harm it could do. I'm sure no rain and heavy evaporation has made the situation much worse. So, how much salt are we talking about?

    I have only found one box store that actually carries liquid chlorine (10%), I had to call around since I am boycotting the pool store. I'm ready to SLAM and bring the pH down. The only other question I have before I start the procedure is this. Since I don't have the benefit of the main drain circulation, I use the Polaris to help me stir things up. Will the amount of bleach I'm about to embark on it, hurt it?

    Thanks so much for all the help. I'll have to find out about a reverse osmosis, I didn't know they made them for pools until I read it on one of the forums. Where is the source for the soft water you were mentioning? I'm assuming to drain, I would have to get a submersible pump. We'll tackle that when the time comes.
    1978, 23K - 25K IG, freeform, gunite/plaster, diving, oak tree canopy, sand 1991 (sz. ?), 1.5 HP pump 2012

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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Softener salt doesn't work that way, it needs to be used in a softener which, in this example, has polystyrene beads in it:
    Calcium and magnesium in water both carry positive charges. This means that these minerals will cling to the beads as the hard water passes through the mineral tank. Sodium ions also have positive charges, albeit not as strong as the charge on the calcium and magnesium. When a very strong brine solution is flushed through a tank that has beads already saturated with calcium and magnesium, the sheer volume of the sodium ions is enough to drive the calcium and magnesium ions off the beads. Water softeners have a separate brine tank that uses common salt to create this brine solution.

    In normal operation, hard water moves into the mineral tank and the calcium and magnesium ions move to the beads, replacing sodium ions. The sodium ions go into the water. Once the beads are saturated with calcium and magnesium, the unit enters a 3-phase regenerating cycle. First, the backwash phase reverses water flow to flush dirt out of the tank. In the recharge phase, the concentrated sodium-rich salt solution is carried from the brine tank through the mineral tank. The sodium collects on the beads, replacing the calcium and magnesium, which go down the drain. Once this phase is over, the mineral tank is flushed of excess brine and the brine tank is refilled.
    From Popular Mechanics
    Dumping softener salt in to your pool will just add salt to it, which some do because it can help water feel "silkier", but it won't do a thing about your calcium hardness.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Not the answer I wanted but very interesting indeed. Do people ever install water softeners on their pool pump lines or is that where the reverse osmosis comes in to play?
    1978, 23K - 25K IG, freeform, gunite/plaster, diving, oak tree canopy, sand 1991 (sz. ?), 1.5 HP pump 2012

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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    A whole house water softener will work fine to provide low CH refill water (....you will use more salt then normal but I would use it if one was available.)

    House water softeners cannot be used to fill a pool....you quickly exhaust the capacity of the softener.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Not thinking of it to actually "fill" a drained pool, but rather install between the intake line and the pump or after the filter to the jets, or would it be too slow to keep up with the pump flow? I know I'm a novice here, just curious. Or, is this where reverse osmosis comes in to play?
    1978, 23K - 25K IG, freeform, gunite/plaster, diving, oak tree canopy, sand 1991 (sz. ?), 1.5 HP pump 2012

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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Hi, we went through stage 2 restrictions 2 summers ago. We were still allowed to water the grass on specific days at specific times. Since I have never been one to water the grass and fuss over the yard anyway, I used my water allotment to top off the pool. If you can water on specific days, use pool water on the lawn and use your ration of yard water to top off the pool.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat
    Thanks so much for the kind welcome and excellent advice. And yes...PRAY FOR RAIN. It's crazy but I even dream of rain, then I wake up... TFP is awesome, I wish I had known about it sooner! I have a softener for the house so my water from the tap is CH 20. The water from the hose I fill the pool with is 120, that's why I was thinking the water softener salt would help with the CH in the pool. I'm sure it's so high because I have been using the cal-hypo and pucks for the 3 years I've been doing it myself. I was unaware of the harm it could do. I'm sure no rain and heavy evaporation has made the situation much worse. So, how much salt are we talking about?

    I have only found one box store that actually carries liquid chlorine (10%), I had to call around since I am boycotting the pool store. I'm ready to SLAM and bring the pH down. The only other question I have before I start the procedure is this. Since I don't have the benefit of the main drain circulation, I use the Polaris to help me stir things up. Will the amount of bleach I'm about to embark on it, hurt it?

    Thanks so much for all the help. I'll have to find out about a reverse osmosis, I didn't know they made them for pools until I read it on one of the forums. Where is the source for the soft water you were mentioning? I'm assuming to drain, I would have to get a submersible pump. We'll tackle that when the time comes.
    You don't need the 10% at the big box store. HEB or Walmart Plain bleach will be perfect and is all you need. It is 8.25% and no it will NOT hurt anything in your pool. If anyone tells you it will, or that it won't work has no idea what they are talking about. Please trust me on this one. No main drain is OK and the cleaner will help while you SLAM. Long term, you should have good enough circulation from everything else without it. As for the softener, you really don't need to worry about that long term for fill water since you got the high CH from pucks. I didn't realize that, sorry. I would look around, talk to some pool places, and find out who trucks pool water. Check Craigslist for that too. There are aquifers in that part of the world with very soft water. The Edwards and Trinity are known for good water. You just have to find a hauler. Long term, you actually need a little more than 120 in your pool. Let focus on the Chlorine SLAM, and look into hauling some fresh water in soon. Again, check back and ask questions here if you need too.

    EDIT: I seriously doubt you'll find an RO treatment for your pool down there. It is very uncommon for people to offer that, and I would be shocked if you found it. Maybe I'll be shocked, but don't get your hopes up, it really is pretty rare.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    I don't think a water softener can be added to a pool circulation. They need to recharge after a few hundred gallons (which a pool can circulate in a couple hours) and need fresh water to rinse and refresh the media. A house softener is not up to the task.

    Reverse Osmosis would involve a company coming out with a trailer full of equipment. They will throw hoses in your pool, fire up a generator, and it runs. Water that goes through will come out virtually free of CH, CYA, salt and metals. You will lose some water in the process and it typically runs a few hundred dollars, but you will end up with very pure water afterwards. It should be a one time thing as long as you are mindful of what you add to the pool in the future. But, like brushpup said, it may be difficult to find in your area. You may want to call around, with several years of drought I would think that some company has gotten the idea to do it.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Everyone likes to mention R/O on this forum but I am not sure why. I only know of two places where it is available...California and Phoenix.....I think there is only one location for each but I am not sure.

    In any event, it is often suggested as an alternative here on the forum but, judging it's geographic distribution, I see no point in bringing it up unless OP is located in one of those areas.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Thanks for the heads-up on the bleach, I couldn't get an accurate % of chlorine on some bleaches at the grocery, so I thought the box store was best. I have learned more on this site in one day than I have from pool stores and pool pros in 22 years. Thanks so much. OK, I'm goin' in, wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on the results.
    1978, 23K - 25K IG, freeform, gunite/plaster, diving, oak tree canopy, sand 1991 (sz. ?), 1.5 HP pump 2012

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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    You might want to check Target for bleach. The target brand (up and up) is on sale here buy 3 get 1 free and it's $2.99 for the 121oz jug. I've seen a couple people say it wasn't on sale where they are but it might be worth checking because it's a pretty good deal. It comes out to $2.29 for a 121 oz bottle of 8.25%.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cat
    Thanks for the heads-up on the bleach, I couldn't get an accurate % of chlorine on some bleaches at the grocery, so I thought the box store was best. I have learned more on this site in one day than I have from pool stores and pool pros in 22 years. Thanks so much. OK, I'm goin' in, wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on the results.


    I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT!

    Not sure how the HEB stuff is labled, but check it out. Walmart Great Value is for sure though, and stay away from Dollar Store Bleach. It's often old when it gets there.

    Now, get on in there Cat, we have your six and we won't let em' flank ya. Get SLAMMING
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    I know there is a drought going on, but I would suggest preparing for the rains, when they do come, perhaps go ahead and get a small cheap submersible pump of the kind that Harbor Freight sells for around $50, and some cheap blue tarps you can hang to funnel water into the pool, if you have gutters on your house you could even rig diversion hoses on them to the pool, although on those you would likely want to some type of filtration, at a minimum a pair of panty hose over the end to catch the larger chunks After all chances are the rain bearing fall and winter frontal systems are not that far off..

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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    HEB's Hill Country Fair brand bleach is 8.25%, so is Walmart's Great Value bleach.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Thanks Zea. We love HEB, but never go because it's in town and there is only one in our city of 110,000+. It is just too painful to deal with most of the time.
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    Re: OMG! My pool is ill!

    Thanks Zea3, I'm sure I'll be heading to the Heebe soon, just down the street. I wasn't sure how much bleach to put in. I finally got the pH down to 7.2 this morning. Started yesterday, wasn't sure how much acid to add, so I would add some, wait a couple of hours, test and add more acid until I got the correct read. I have added 4 gals. of 10% chlorine, but how long until I can start testing the shock chlorine level? Right away, or do I have to wait 2 hours for proper disbursement?

    What if I run out of bleach before I hit the shock FC and I have to run to the store, will that mess up the results? It would be about a 40 min. round trip for me.
    1978, 23K - 25K IG, freeform, gunite/plaster, diving, oak tree canopy, sand 1991 (sz. ?), 1.5 HP pump 2012

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