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Thread: new member, neglected pool in Memphis area

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    new member, neglected pool in Memphis area

    Howdy, nice forum you have here. Already learning.

    I'm sure I'm not the first, but I'm here because my pool needs serious help and I need to try to do the work myself, and I don't know enough. It's daunting enough that I've even considered just filling it with dirt. But, it looks like I'll find what I need here, so I've signed up as a supporter. Lot cheaper than paying somebody to do it! Hopefully I can give enough info here to give you an idea how under-informed I am.

    The pool was already here when we bought the house in 2000, and in good shape then. I'm pretty sure it had been painted. According to county records it was built in 1989. I was told it's Gunite, so we use the dosing for plaster. We had never had a pool before, didn't know anything about them, and didn't get any instructions or manuals or anything. There was a cover and some equipment in the shed, including a Kreepy Krauly.
    First few years we read what we could find and asked at Leslie's and muddled through with test strips and Trichlor tabs, mostly able to keep it clean and clear and pretty, and used it some, up to perhaps 2008. Covered it first couple years, then threw the cover away because it had holes in it. Just scooped it out in the spring after that.
    Haven't kept up with it lately though.
    For three years or so now, we didn't get it clean enough to open, so it just keeps getting worse. Every few months I've thrown a bunch of powdered shock in to kill tadpoles and mosquitoes. Seems to have done that.
    There's rotting leaves etc. in the bottom, I'm scooping that out a little at a time and waiting for the weather to cool off before I get serious. The water is opaque green.
    I'm thinking I'd rather go ahead and get it clean this fall, run it until we start freezing, then try to keep it scooped out over the winter. Or should I wait? I'm too old, fat and lazy to be out working in the heat much, I prefer cool weather for working outside.

    Been using a figure of 25,000 combined capacity and it seemed to be pretty close to that back when I was still trying to keep the chemicals up. Only ever used test strips before, but I do have the good test kit coming in the mail now.

    I'll be doing a lot of reading before I'm ready to start asking detailed questions. Right now I'm mostly hoping to get the order of things worked out.
    One thing I am still searching for is a forum about plumbing. I've done a little before but I had to 'guess' how to do things, and I'm not sure I guessed right. A lot of the plumbing needs to be replaced but I don't want to pay somebody to do it.

    I have already been reading. TF-100 kit on the way, so no results to report yet. Surely everything is zero. Also got the stirrer and XL kit. What I've bought so far in preparation is one jug of conditioner and 10 of bleach, shopping around to see where the better deal is. Figured I'd certainly use that much at least. Jug sizes have changed in this economy, so the Pool Calculator doesn't come out exactly any more. Also I have some stuff left from an opening kit we bought in spring, I understand now not to buy those but I already have them if they're good for anything. Got a gorilla pole and a couple big leaf baskets, a hose powered leaf gulper, couple brushes, vacuum head and hose, hand skimmers.

    Starting clean pressure was 10 or 15 back when it ran good. Now, backwashing, then running on filter, the pressure goes to around 30psi, within a few minutes even without DE, high enough to allow water to bypass to waste. If I forget and leave it like this in the evening, then the water gets low enough to suck air through the skimmer within a few hours.

    I'll be removing and disassembling the filter elements and thoroughly hosing off, and probably doing an acid bath in a plastic rain barrel. How do you dispose of the acid? Hopefully this will let me run it long enough to put DE in it, so I can get started cleaning the water.

    The multiport valve is damaged. The 'walls' that the spider valve sits in have broken, allowing leaks. I'm sure it's from running the pump with the filter very clogged. It may be because I put a more powerful motor on the pump. I'm not sure if there's a real bypass in the filter assembly, but it seems like this damage does allow water out the waste when running in filter. I have a new multiport valve to install, looking for education on plumbing. I'd also like to bypass the heater. I guess it would be nice if the bypass were removable with QD unions? I replaced the multiport before, but I don't think I knew enough to do it right.

    ---------------------
    Here's a more in-depth description than my sig, for anybody who cares.

    It's a Gunite in-ground pool and separate spa, with a pipe between them. One main drain in the pool, two in the spa (only one valve though), the only skimmer is in the pool. We've just always used a hand skimmer net for the spa, not sure if there's a better way. Got a vacuum inlet in the side of the pool. Each of these has it's own Jandy valve on the pipe going to the pump inlet. I think they're too low to the ground though, and I'd like to replace them. The return line splits to the pool and spa with a single Jandy in the Y. Blower for the spa. Three return eyes in the pool, five in the spa. One light in each.

    Big old stainless American Products Titan DE filter; Pacfab Challenger pump was originally an up-rated 1-1/2hp, I put a 2hp motor in when it went out; Ruud gas heater hasn't worked in years; spa blower replaced a few years ago. Have been through several off-line chlorine feeders.
    We already replaced all the filter elements once before, and now I have a whole new element assembly with manifolds still in the box. I don't think there's much damage if any to the existing elements, but there's a crack in the top manifold. For the time being I plan to leave the new one in the box until I feel the old one is a goner.

    It does get cold enough here to freeze over. I tried using a Gizzmo early on, but the bottom of the skimmer looks like the original outlet centered in the bottom was blocked off, and a second one put in too close to the edge for the Gizzmo. We just haven't done anything about the ice the last few years other than to drain below the skimmer and try to keep some half-filled milk jugs floating. I don't see any damage.

    The pretty blue plaster when we moved in seems to be brushing away slowly to reveal a white surface underneath, and there are a few patches that the smooth surface has come off revealing what I'd call concrete underneath. This is not most of the surface, just a few square yards.

    There's tile at the waterline, and only one piece has come off, we still have it. the rim is stone, and spiders have made homes in the cracks between stones.

    The whole sits in a huge pebbled patio.

    I'll try to get a picture or two in here.

    Current condition


    Some older pics I found on the computer

    25,000 gal IG Gunite pool & spa, Titan stainless DE 48sf, PacFab Challenger 2hp, dead Laars Lite heater, TF-100

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: new member, neglected pool in Memphis area

    Welcome to tfp, Idahoser

    Wow, that looks like a nice pool!

    Good job studying up on tfp, I think you have a good understanding of how to attack this! Getting the tf-100 was a great move as well

    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoser
    Jug sizes have changed in this economy, so the Pool Calculator doesn't come out exactly any more.
    Try: http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoser
    Starting clean pressure was 10 or 15 back when it ran good. Now, backwashing, then running on filter, the pressure goes to around 30psi, within a few minutes even without DE, high enough to allow water to bypass to waste. If I forget and leave it like this in the evening, then the water gets low enough to suck air through the skimmer within a few hours.
    You do not want to run a DE filter without DE...especially when the water has a lot of junk in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoser
    The multiport valve is damaged. The 'walls' that the spider valve sits in have broken, allowing leaks.
    Sounds like you need to replace the valve before moving forward.

    From what I can see and what you already know, I think you will be able to get this pool up and running. Once the water is clear, you can take some shots of the plaster and we can go from there.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: new member, neglected pool in Memphis area

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Welcome to tfp, Idahoser
    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoser
    Jug sizes have changed in this economy, so the Pool Calculator doesn't come out exactly any more.
    Try: http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
    Great, thanks for that. The links I'd been finding earlier went to poolcalculator.com and it doesn't have the new sizes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Idahoser
    Starting clean pressure was 10 or 15 back when it ran good. Now, backwashing, then running on filter, the pressure goes to around 30psi, within a few minutes even without DE, high enough to allow water to bypass to waste. If I forget and leave it like this in the evening, then the water gets low enough to suck air through the skimmer within a few hours.
    You do not want to run a DE filter without DE...especially when the water has a lot of junk in it.
    I gather that from reading other's experience, though the ones I find mostly have sand filters. I'm still trying to get my head around how to get from "can't run the filter long enough to get DE in" to there.
    25,000 gal IG Gunite pool & spa, Titan stainless DE 48sf, PacFab Challenger 2hp, dead Laars Lite heater, TF-100

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: new member, neglected pool in Memphis area

    Yeah, DE filters can be nightmares when trying to clear a green pool since they catch so much stuff so fast. I would get the DE in there and then just plan to backwash very often adding about 80% of the initial required DE amount each time. When you can't be at the pool, then put it in recirculate to keep the chlorine dispersed.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Finally, the success story

    well, it's been a pretty good while since I've been active on here, but over the last month or so I finally got active on the pool, and yesterday we took our first swim in about 5 years.


    The first thing I did was replace the multiport valve, which let us begin to run the pump. That led us to find the crack in the pump strainer pot, which I replaced at the same time I added unions to the inlet and outlet of the pump.

    I didn't get to spend uninterrupted time on the cleaning, so I probably used a lot more bleach than I should have. I would pour in 4 or 6 jugs to get the chlorine level up and start scooping over the weekend, but then I'd leave it for the week. Most of the week I'd leave the pump in recirculate, even if I wasn't doing anything to keep chlorine up, and it did seem to have a clearing effect on the water, to where I could see where the piles of leaves were which gave me motivation to scoop them, for a little while, until the silt got stirred up and I couldn't see any more.

    But every time I came back to work on it, it would be a little clearer, and would take less time to settle after I scooped all I could see.

    Eventually it got to where I could run the vacuum with the new Pentair in-line leaf canister I found online. Some parts of the bottom were so full of leaves and stuff that I could only go a foot before I had to stop and clean the canister, but that was better than backwashing every hour.

    Found holes in most of the filter elements after a few days, which didn't surprise me after the abuse they'd received and I had already bought a whole new element assembly in preparation for this. I had to re-use my old upper manifold, the new one has some kind of snorkel thing sticking out the top that doesn't fit in my stainless steel filter casing.

    About this time I started learning to use the TF-100 kit, which isn't nearly as bad as it seemed like it would be. The little reference card in the kit is all the instructions I used.

    I backwashed so many times, with several times having to take the filter elements apart and hose them off, that I think I may be kinda experienced now. I tried several ways of putting in the DE and seeing the result in the filter. I used to just sprinkle the DE into the skimmer, but I found clods and mountains of clean white DE down in the bottom of the filter assembly. It didn't really help much when I tried submerging a fistful at a time into the skimmer and 'massaging' it til it was all gone. What worked best by far was to put a can or two of DE at a time into a bucket of water, and agitate it with one hand while slowly pouring it into the skimmer with the other.

    Oh, and I studied up on how much DE to use. The bag of DE has instructions that says for my 48 s.f. filter to use 6 pounds of DE, which it says should be 12 scoops of the 1 lb coffee can. My filter, however, says one 1 lb coffee can, which it says is .75 lb DE, per 5 s.f. which comes out to about 9-1/2 cans, I do the math and that comes out to 7-1/8 lbs by their reckoning. I'm going with the filter's count. And as I learned on here, I'm using 8 cans after a backwash for 80% of the initial charge.

    There are still some ugly stains on the walls and floor and some areas where the surface definitely needs repair, but I have to say I'm very surprised at how good it was to get in the thing, to remember that there was a reason for all that work.

    Next project is to read up on covers. I did that a year or so back but I'll have to relearn everything now. We used the one that was left in the shed for the first couple years but when it became too holey we threw it out, and haven't replaced it. I'm thinking a safety cover would give the least hassle? I would definitely prefer a good cover bought online, to save money. I think I had decided back then on the one that has a strip of mesh down the middle, but otherwise solid. Suggestions welcome.

    Water's all balanced now, the last big dose of chlorine stopped being swallowed up even though my conditioner is inexplicably low again. I guess I must have replaced a lot more water than I thought with all those backwashes and vacuuming to waste. But, I'll use pucks for a while to get it back up, then go back to liquid bleach. A trick I was pretty proud of was the raising pH by aeration, I got up from 7.2 to 7.5 with the hose on sprinkle to refill from the last backwash.



    25,000 gal IG Gunite pool & spa, Titan stainless DE 48sf, PacFab Challenger 2hp, dead Laars Lite heater, TF-100

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    Re: Finally, the success story

    Here's some better pictures of the stains and markings.

    The stuff on the walls and steps mostly looks like the paint and some of the underlying surface has come off. The walls look more like stains to me.













    25,000 gal IG Gunite pool & spa, Titan stainless DE 48sf, PacFab Challenger 2hp, dead Laars Lite heater, TF-100

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