Help for a new pool owner! Some background. We bought house with pool and moved in August 16th. I had a pool guy scheduled to give me a pool 101 lesson 5 days later. In the meantime, I did not add anything to the pool because wasn’t sure what to do. The most I did was use the test strips which showed that everything was in balance except for a tad high pH, according to the bottles label. I also noticed that the pump was running 24/7 and that the pressure gauge on the sand filter was broken. The previous owners had no chemicals on hand, their brush was dry rotted, they had a dolphin cleaner in the garage boxed up, and they did have a Polaris in the pool that was set to run for 4 hours a day. They did have a weekly pool maintenance service.
When we arrived the pool was very clear. I judge this by how well I can see drain in the deep in. Info on my pool is in footer of my post. I will comment that the plaster is wearing off as there are grey patches along the top and floor of shallow end. The grey areas are quite rough compared to the smooth plaster finish.
So I get the pool 101. He said pump should not have to run 24/7 so he set timer for pump to run 12 hours a day. He said Chlorine was low but not zero, so he put three tablets each of the 3” tabs into both skimmers. pH was high so he added muratic acid. He also demonstrated how to do a backwash. He suggested we try out the dolphin cleaner since it will sweep the sides of wall and floor whereas the Polaris only picks up debris but does not sweep. I may have misunderstood but I thought he said the dolphin would take the place of me having to sweep the sides with a brush. By this time, the water wasn’t as clear but he said not bad. His advice in general was to keep the chlorine and pH in check and I should be fine. He cautioned on pool stores trying to sell me stuff and if they start talking alkalinity and stabilizer adjustments and phosphates removal to not bite.
So for the next two weeks after pool 101, I’m testing the water, keeping a single tablet in each skimmer, emptying baskets of leaves, and running the dolphin and filter for 12 hours a day (I’m not manually sweeping). No backwashing because the returns looks strong as they did after the backwash demonstration. I started to notice the pool getting cloudier so I start researching. Then I noticed it was getting a greenish tint. I saw no actual algae. Took sample to pool store for first time. Balance was good except for phosphates at 500 ppm. They suggested I add phosphate removal. I balked until I could come and read on this and most said 500 ppm is not issue. So I did not add but did add clarifier and started filter online for 24/7 and backwashed. I also replaced the pressure gauge so I could check backpressure on filter. I think I was in denial that I would get algae after keeping everything in balance.
After about day, I noticed algae settling on the steps. I took my new brush and ran on walls. Whoa a green hazy cloud. So being jolted out of my denial, I did the shock treatment. I didn’t do the 4lb shock as one pool store suggested, I did the shock that would get me to above 10 ppm. I had read that somewhere and also another pool store. My chlorine was 5 ppm before shocking. The next day algae settled onto the floor and I vacuumed to waste. Still cloudy so I added clarifier again and backwashed filter. The next day, I could see the drain again very clearly. So that gets us closer to current time. We went swimming, pool was clear. I felt so successful.
So this past Sunday, I was going to be the good pool owner and sweep down the walls myself after learning my lesson. One swipe and looked like green tinted particles. I was “shocked”. I did this along all the walls and steps. Very similar green particles. Drain disappeared again after sweeping. Only a faint glimpse could be seen. Not completely gone as last time. since I had already shocked once, I lost my fear of shocking, and did again before it got the green tint. As suggested, I always sweep the sides and floor before shocking.
The next day, visible algae on the bottom but not as much as first time. I vacuumed to waste. The pool store (although I know don’t always listen) suggested to follow with algaecide. Since I was in a panic I did. It has been almost 24 hrs and no visible algae has settled, except for two fly size drops on pool steps. Pool is still a white cloudy. When I run the brush ( I have become obsessed with the brush), I still stir up stuff. I can’t tell if green tint or whitish but my mind tells me green.
So I’m not sure if I am just chasing my tail by shocking, vacuuming, clarifying, sweeping walls, backwashing…to clear up…and then start all over.
In the meantime, I got tired of the all over the place pool store results so I bought a test kit. I’m still not happy with how to measure chlorine. It is till color based and can only go to 10 ppm. Below are results from sample I took to store today. In parenthesis is my results based on test kit.
Free Cl : >= 12 ppm (>= 10 ppm)…max on test limits
Total Cl: same as Free Cl
pH: 7.3 (7.5)
Hardness: 200 ppm (1500 ppm….I must have done something wrong)
Corrected Alkalinity : 37 ppm (37 ppm)
CyA: 61 ppm (70 ppm)
Copper: 0.01 ppm (did not measure)
TDS: 250 ppm (did not measure)
Phosphates: 0 ppm (hmm…where did they go from previous sample)
My TA has always been low but no pool place ( I have tried three) has suggested increasing. My understanding is that it helps against pH upsets. My pH stays steady.
Pool stores always say water is fine. When I tell them cloudy and green film when brushing walls, then that is where they all have different approaches. The latest was to use bromine. Another was to use copper algaecide (that one doesn’t sound good).
The previous owners have been difficult to get info from. I don’t know age of sand and if filter on 24/7 because poor filtering efficiency. I’m not sure who the pool maintenance service was. I would like to contact them to see if they had problems and if they did weekly shocks or algaecides as some sites suggest to do. I like to think if I keep chemistry balance, sides swept, leaves out, skimmers clean, I should not need that. I’m also wondering if the plaster wearing off is giving places for algae to grab onto.
So suggestions on what my problem may be. And also, are there test kits where I can measure an actual value of chlorine versus the color strips or the color drops.
Sorry so lengthy. Wanted to explain how I got to this point in my short pool ownership.