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Thread: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

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    New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    I am a newbie, first time pool owner and this is my story.
    We purchased an older home with an existing IG pool a few months ago. The pool was in a neglected, fair to poor (slightly cloudy) condition when we bought the house. Because I was pretty much clueless, and since there were (and still currently are) many other pressing renovation projects I was (& still am) working on, all I was mainly doing was keeping some pucks in the floater and strainer basket – this was the extent of my pool maintenance knowledge at the time - and as a result the pool deteriorated steadily and soon began to look like a green swamp. This part might be typical – So, seeing a pressing need to do something, and on the advice of a relative who is a long time pool owner, I paid a visit, actually several visits to the local pool store, bringing my water sample along for testing. Long story short, I bought and fed the pool a couple of hundred dollar worth of di-chlor shock, granular chlorine, algaecide, clarifier, and more tri-chlor pucks. Things started to clear up. About this time I also found and started to read and follow TFP, and I ordered a TF-100. The pool, in the meantime, did reach a point of pretty good clarity using the pool store’s prescription and I thought I was on the right track. That is, until I received the TF-100 test kit and did my first test.

    FC 12
    CC 0
    Ph 7.4 (It actually was much lower but I raised it to this by dumping a bunch of soda ash into the pool – but now realize that this is probably not accurate as my FC is so high.)
    TA 130
    CH 150
    CYA 100

    Deducing that my first course of action is to get the CYA lower, I am in the midst of draining approximately ½ of my pool’s water. I probably got another 10 hours to go as I write this, siphoning it off through a garden hose at a rate of about 1.75 gal / minute. I did an initial and substantial amount of the drain by vacuuming to waste.

    So, after I finish draining and refilling the pool with tap water, I am hoping to get some guidance on what I should do next. I was wondering if I should start by using some Calcium Hypo since my CH is lower than is recommended here.

    Ultimately I think I will want to go with liquid bleach for sanitizing, but not wanting to have to add it daily, I am also seriously thinking about the Liquidator, or possibly some other DIY liquid chlorinator setup I read about here. A SWG is out of my budget right now.
    Question about the Liquidator – what is the minimal amount of pump run time I can get by with while using the LQ? I am hoping that a three to four hour per day run time would do as electricity cost here in Hawaii is extremely high – the highest in the country at over $.50/kwh. Would the LQ be able to add enough chlorine within that amount of pump run time?

    Our home and pool is at the 1,000 ft elevation on the west side of a mountain. The pool is in the shade of our 2 story house in the morning and largely shaded by tropical trees and a wood fence around the perimeter for much of the balance of the daylight hours. We also typically have a fair amount of afternoon cloud cover daily and periodic light rains. (Perfect climate for coffee growing – i.e. Kona Coffee). If I had to guess, I would say that the pool will probably get an average of 5 hours per day of full direct sunlight in the winter months and 7 hours max in the summer months. The pool, of course, will never be closed for the winter with daytime highs about 78-82 degrees all year round. The pool will typically only see light usage, with 2 teenagers in the household with only occasional get together and parties with friends and relatives…

    Backtracking a bit. After the turning point in killing off the algae, when I could actually start to see the bottom of the pool again and see that is was covered with a layer to white/gray dead algae, in the process of vacuuming it up at that stage, much of it would blow right through the filter and spit out of the 3 return outlets as smoky white plumes. (This was before I learned about vacuuming to waste.) At the time, I told myself that this is a two steps forward, one step backwards process, and to keep pressing forward, as I was sure I was vacuuming more than was being spit back out. I was also backwashing after every vacuum session (again before learning that this wasn’t the best practice) and was encouraged by seeing the substantial amount of the ashy white water get flushed out each time. Anyway, would this be typical of a sand filter – for a large amount of crud to go through the sand and back out via the return? Eventually though, I got it to a point where even a heavy brushing would not raise any perceptible amount matter in the water and the pool was clear but not necessarily sparkling crystal clear.

    I have also since learned about DE, and bought a bag of it from the pool store. I added it once just a couple of days before I determined that the drain was necessary so I cannot comment on its merit yet but feel/hope it will improve the filtering capability – again mainly based on what I have read here. Also, this past weekend, I washed out the sand filter with a hose with a straight brass nozzle which, while holding it in my hand I could blast my way down through the sand to the level of laterals and stir up almost all of the sand. Doing this, I flushed out a substantial amount of more milky gray/white crud water, and this was just after the backwash done immediately before ran clear. So I should be good for a year before I need to manually clean the sand again. (Gotta remember to line the threaded top of the tank with a towel next time, as I now have a slight case of fiberglass itch around my upper arm…)

    One more thing, upon draining the pool, the significant amount of ugly white calcium(?) scaling on the tile & grout at the waterline became clearly obvious. I looked here and elsewhere for suggestion on the best way to clean it. I didn’t find it here or anywhere else for that matter, but what I used with pretty good success is… 180 grit drywall sanding screen. I used it before on some nasty toilet stains and found the it really didn’t scratch the porcelain, and likewise it didn’t scratch this tile either and I was able to remove much of the waterline scaling with less effort than other methods I tried.

    Hope this rambling was not too boring or disjoined… And I hope to get some advice on the questions above. One last question – what are eyeballs?
    Love your site. Read a lot and learned a lot. Thanks for the great service it provides your members.
    Aloha,
    Ray
    16k gal, L-Shaped, IG, plaster, Pentair Triton II TR-60 Sand Filter, A.O. Smith Century Centurion 1HP Single speed motor, TF-100 test kit, Intex CS8110 SWG

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    Wow, there's a lot there. I can answer a few.

    Okay, raising CH with Cal Hypo is fine. Use calc.html to figure out how much you will need to add to raise CH to where you want it and then just use it to chlorinate/SLAM until you've added however many pounds, then switch to bleach. Don't dump it all in at once!

    You shouldn't be seeing plumes of stuff coming out the returns. Anything too fine to get filtered out should be too small to be seen with the naked eye. I suspect the sand filter may be channeled. The fix is to open it up and gently push around inside with a garden hose and break up any clumps and wash out any huge debris. It will be a messy job.
    This is an eyeball. You loosen the ring, theoretically, sometimes they are awful tight, and aim the center part then lock it in position with the ring. It's how you set up the surface flow to keep the debris headed for the skimmer. You might also be advised to point them up to break the surface to aerate, or down to increase circulation down at the bottom.
    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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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    Welcome to tfp, rayfbi

    Quote Originally Posted by rayfbi
    So, after I finish draining and refilling the pool with tap water, I am hoping to get some guidance on what I should do next.
    Post a fresh set of test numbers and we can recommend from there. It also might make sense to test your fill water for ph, TA, and CH.

    Quote Originally Posted by rayfbi
    Ultimately I think I will want to go with liquid bleach for sanitizing, but not wanting to have to add it daily, I am also seriously thinking about the Liquidator, or possibly some other DIY liquid chlorinator setup I read about here. A SWG is out of my budget right now.
    I would start by manually chlorinating daily. You will quickly find out if you can get by with doing it every other day (most of us can). Then as you learn your pool, you can decide if automating your chlorine is worth it for you.

    I would try the sand cleaning procedure that Richard mentioned: http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-sa...-it-t7626.html
    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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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us.
    TFP Moderator
    Essential Links:
    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    Re: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    Welcome!

    With a CYA reading of 100, it is possible that your CYA is really even higher. Now that you've drained and refilled, what are your test results? (Other numbers were likely affected by the re-fill, too.)
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

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    Re: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    When I had the pool drained to the just below the bottom of the pool light, I took the opportunity to check the niche. I had no idea how involved that process would be and was extremely pleased to find out that all it took was to remove one allen screw (and that the pool really does not need to be drained to remove/inspect it and that it has a cord that is long enough to move the entire fixture to the pool deck). Anyway, what was back there was totally gross! There was at least an inch thick of disgusting gray/green goop filling the space between the bottom of the fixture and the bottom of the niche! Yuck! Got that all cleaned out so that is one more thing out of the way in my quest for a trouble free pool…

    Regarding the sand filter. If it was channeling, I hope the manual cleaning I did took care of it. When I talked to the pool store guy about the exhaust from the returns back when, he didn’t act too surprised, explaining that the algae was such and such microns across and the sand filters to such and such microns…

    I am concerned about if I have enough sand in it though… how much is the right amount?

    Per linen’s suggestion, these are the readings of my tap water which I refilled the pool with:
    FC 1
    CC 0
    Ph 7.8
    TA 130
    CH 40
    CYA 0



    I finished refilling the pool last night.
    In the early evening of 11/13/13 @ around 6pm, shortly after starting refilling, I added approximately 1/3rd of a 121 oz 8.25% bleach jug to the pool to help ensure that my CL did not drop to 0 during this multi-day process. I haven’t added any chlorine since.

    So here are my current numbers this morning, 11/15 @ 8am:
    FC 8.5
    CC 0
    Ph 7.6
    TA 130
    CH 80
    CYA 50 (at best – I think I can’t see dot somewhere above 60, but by 50 definitely only white…)

    I was hoping to get CYA down around 40… also surprised my FC is as high as it is…


    Off to work…
    16k gal, L-Shaped, IG, plaster, Pentair Triton II TR-60 Sand Filter, A.O. Smith Century Centurion 1HP Single speed motor, TF-100 test kit, Intex CS8110 SWG

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: New, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    When you cleaned the filter, did you notice any clumped sand?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayfbi
    I am concerned about if I have enough sand in it though… how much is the right amount?
    Per the manual, you should have 10.5 inches of air from top of sand to top of filter.

    A cya level of 50 is perfect.

    Your TA is high, but that will come down as you add Muriatic Acid to lower the ph, which you should do whenever it goes up to 7.8.

    Since the pool CH is so low( and the CH of your fill water is also low), I would raise it up to 250 ppm.
    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, 1st time pool owner with questions...

    Most of the sand felt normal, but there were a few spots that may have been clumped together, but broke apart readily. It was definitely very dirty though, as I worked it a good long time before the water running out of it ran fairly clear.

    Thanks for the manual. I will reopen it and measure the free board distance.

    According to the Pool Math calc, I will need 403 oz (over 20 lbs) of calcium chloride to bring it to 250 from 80. Based on this, using Cal-Hypo to bring up my CH would probably take a ridiculously long time and I guess is not really a viable option.
    16k gal, L-Shaped, IG, plaster, Pentair Triton II TR-60 Sand Filter, A.O. Smith Century Centurion 1HP Single speed motor, TF-100 test kit, Intex CS8110 SWG

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