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Thread: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

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    First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Great site! So glad to find it....I will have plenty of reading to do but in the meantime....

    Expecting to close on a home this week that has an IG pool that hasn't been maintained for at least 6 months...possibly longer.

    What I do know
    pool was built in 1980. Size is 20x40 with plaster interior finish. Currently water is murky brown/green enough that you can only see the bottom for a few feet in the shallow end(3' to 8' deep) There appears to be many leaves/small twigs and who-knows-what-else in the pool. I have seen a snake (12-14") in the pool.
    Waterline tile is missing random pcs - approx 15-25 total and there is a crack behind those tiles in the pool beam. The water level is roughly at the bottom of the waterline tile.
    Pump has 2 mechanical timers.

    What I do not know
    anything about the filter or pump

    Questions
    Must I drain the pool to handle this cleaning?
    If so, should I worry about the pool popping out of the ground?
    What are the steps you would take to clean this pool?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Welcome to the forum.

    Tell us the city and state where you live so we have an idea of your climate.

    I believe your best path will be to clean up the water first as you can then assess your pool much better when it is clear and operational.

    One of the first purchases you will need to make is a HEAVY DUTY leaf net (puritypool - red baron is a good one) and a HEAVY DUTY pole for that leaf net so you can begin to scoop out the solid debris. Once that is completed, we will help you get the water clear and then you will be able to get a good idea of what needs doing after that.

    It probably will not need to be drained.

    As soon as you get possession, you need to find out if the filter and motor are functioning and tell us more about them....size of the filter, filter type, size (in HP) of the pump, etc.

    Read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School as a good place to begin managing your pool.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Before you decide whether to drain or not, get a good test kit and get some readings. If CH or CYA are really high, you'll end up draining anyway, so you might as well do it before you start dumping bleach in the water. And you'll need a decent test kit anyway no matter what, so just bite the bullet and spend the dough. There's an article in pool school, but I can sve you some reading. tftestkits.net, get a TF100 and the XL option. I endorse the speedstir, too.

    A little inspiration:
    first-time-shocking-with-bleach-t45074.html
    pretty-black-pool-t58442.html
    first-time-pool-owner-t61565.html
    a-little-encouragement-for-those-with-algae-and-new-to-bbb-t57137.html
    frog-filled-green-swamp-to-oasis-work-in-progress-t48213-20.html
    before-and-after-t36785.html
    a-final-picture-set-of-how-well-the-bbb-method-works-t33199.html
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    zimm's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    -Buy the test kit- you'll need it and it takes time to get to you
    -Buy the leaf net, pole, and a brush
    -Take pictures of the pump and filter as well as the little number plates wtih model info
    -Do you know how to post pics? hint: get a free photobucket.com accout, upload pic, cut and past the "img" link to your post- it's magic
    -If the pump and filter run, then you'll be able to get the pool water cleared up
    -Stock up on plain/normal bleach- costco sells a pack of 3 jugs, probably need to start with 2 of those
    -You'll need a pool bottom vacuum and hose that plugs into your skimmer and you run the filter on "waste" and suck all the **** off the bottom.
    -While you're waiting for the test kit, you can have the pool store run a free test on a water sample you bring them, but DON'T buy any chemicals from them without reporting the results back to us, we'll save you HUNDREDS of dollars.

    It's amazing what a few days with the filter running, proper chemistry (i.e. enough bleach) will do for your water.

    Report back so we can help!
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    I am in Jacksonville,Fl. We have had closing delayed. I will be able to investigate early next week and will post back. In the meantime I will work on acquiring the suggested items.

    Thanks guys!

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Welcome to tfp, johnet

    As others have said, make sure you get an appropriate test kit, it is the most important thing to have for pool chemistry. See this pool school article: http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...kit_comparison Many of us have the tf-100 since it is the best value.
    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: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Got the test kit you guys recommended. TF100. I only tested the CYA yesterday and had a reading of 20...not sure if that is good or bad?

    Hoping to start adding bleach today...not sure what my next steps are...I did get the pump running and let it circulate for 30-40 mins yesterday before dark. No problems with it that I noticed. It seemed to be functioning correctly.

    Any suggestions on where to go from here?

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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Quote Originally Posted by johnet
    Got the test kit you guys recommended. TF100. I only tested the CYA yesterday and had a reading of 20...not sure if that is good or bad?

    Hoping to start adding bleach today...not sure what my next steps are...I did get the pump running and let it circulate for 30-40 mins yesterday before dark. No problems with it that I noticed. It seemed to be functioning correctly.

    Any suggestions on where to go from here?
    Probably these three articles: Defeating Algae

    Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparkling Oasis

    SLAMing Your Pool
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    zimm's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    You'll need to run the pump and filter 24/7 until it's fixed. Watch the pressure gauge- when it goes up enough (I forget, 20% ?), backwash it.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Any suggestions on where to go from here?
    Read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. It'll give you the suggested ranges for CYA as well as your other test results.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Quote Originally Posted by johnet
    Got the test kit you guys recommended. TF100.


    Quote Originally Posted by johnet
    I only tested the CYA yesterday and had a reading of 20...not sure if that is good or bad?
    Not bad. When you did the test, did you do it with the sun out and at your back with the vial held at about waist height? Often when people "get 20" their cya is actually lower. You can pour the solution back and forth to retest. For the SLAM process you need to do, you want the cya at 20-30 (if you truly are at 20 right now that is fine).

    Quote Originally Posted by johnet
    Hoping to start adding bleach today...not sure what my next steps are...I did get the pump running and let it circulate for 30-40 mins yesterday before dark. No problems with it that I noticed. It seemed to be functioning correctly.

    Any suggestions on where to go from here?
    As mentioned above, you need to do the SLAM process. Make sure you fish anything out that you can using a leaf net.
    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.

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Closing is moving forward but has been delayed again. I was told to stay off property until closing...so...hope to make it back out sometime in the next week-10days.

    In the meantime, for what it is worth...

    TC - 0
    FC - 0
    CC - 0
    pH - 8.5
    Total Alkalinity - 65ppm
    Calcium Hardness - 75ppm
    Stabilizer - 25ppm
    Total Dissolved Solids 400ppm
    Phosaphate - 0
    Temp 72

    Test done by Pinch A Penny
    Suggestion was
    1) aDD 1.5 GAL SULFURIC Acid
    2)add stabilizing chlorinating tablets (5 tablets 30 mins after acid)
    3)add 5 jugs of liquid chlorine
    4)add 2.2lbs of stop yellow
    5)add 5 jugs of liquid chlorine
    6)pour 7.8lbs of Suncoast stabilizer
    7)pour 81lbs of Suncoast calcium hardness increaser.

    Sales associate said to expect $400+ in chemicals.

    I did have the pump running all day. Added about 2" of water to the pool and poured 96oz of bleach into the pool every 3hrs today - total of 4 jugs.

    I will have to go back by and turn the pump off. I received message this evening stating to stop all cleaning/repairs until closing.

    Guess there isn't anything I can do for now. I am basically going to have to start again next week or when ever closing finally happens, correct?

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Don't worry about it until you have possession. It really won't make any difference at this point.

    While you wait, you need to make a decision. You have to decide whether to follow the instructions of the pool store or the information you get here. The two won't work together.

    Since you are at a CYA of 20-25, I would leave it there and not add stabilizer, but that's me. It takes less liquid chlorine (bleach) at lower CYA levels to perform the SLAM process.

    You do need calcium. Did the person at the pool store ask you how many gallons your pool is? Without this information, he's guessing on your amounts.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    First, pretty sure sulfuric acid in your pool is a bad idea.

    Second, $400!?! That would pay for my chemicals for 4 years!! I have to reiterate the above post. Our way or the pools store way. Doing both will not work.
    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: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Thanks for the replies guys...definitely planning on TFP's way! I was just sharing with you what a pool store provided me.

    I did use the cya test in the TF100 myself but none of the other tests yet. I was headed to the supply house for a brush anyway so I took a sample with me.

    I felt like I was on a used car lot "Buy this and that but only after you buy these and you'll want to double everything...."

    I will keep reading...there seems to be so much to know and it feels a bit overwhelming...hoping I can do this...

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Quote Originally Posted by johnet

    I will keep reading...there seems to be so much to know and it feels a bit overwhelming...hoping I can do this...
    You can do it, just keep reading. Reread pool school and browse the forums (it's amazing what you pick up on others' trials and tribulations). We were all in your shoes at one time, which is why we're all so willing to help.
    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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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    Don't even second guess yourself. You can do this. It may seem a little daunting at first, but in time you will get it. Then you will say this is easy.
    Keep the questions coming and there is plenty of people here to help you out.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: First time pool owner stuck with a swampy mess

    There are three options.
    1. You can spend thousands on pool store chemicals per year and have a messed up pool because you can't keep CYA under control making your chlorine mostly ineffective. I did this for many years.
    2. You can spend a $1500-2000 on a SWG conversion, but there is risk to coping damage. I have witnessed this on a friends pool and it's not pretty.
    3. You can use TFP BBB method, have a sparkling algae free pool, and save thousands per year in unnecessary pool store chemicals. I would also highly recommend a Liquidator in your set up. It automates liquid chlorine addition and keeps some of the salts out of your pool. I have seen no downside to it.

    I chose option 3.

    And always remember two things:

    1. pool stores aren't testing your water for free because they are philanthropists. Their ultimate goal is to sell you a steady stream of chemicals whether you need them or not.
    2. Chlorine will kill all algae (green, yellow, black, whatever) and all bacteria (red) if it is not locked up by high CYA levels. You don't need phosphate removers, algae killers, algae inhibitors, etc when your chlorine is at the right levels and not locked up by high CYA.

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