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Thread: My Frustrating Pool Story

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    My Frustrating Pool Story

    First of all, this forum has been invaluable to me. I have read many threads and taken much advice. In fact, my TFT100 chem kit came a few days ago. I'm on my way to a TFT PhD...

    Background: I have owned pools and spas in FL in the past. My pools have all been easily accessed DE filters with auto-chlorinators and a Polaris cleaner. I rarely had problems except for one nasty bout of black algae. Shortly thereafter I has the marcite replaced/covered with fiberglass and all was excellent.

    I now live in the Dominican Republic and rent a house with a pool. Construction here is not like the states. The pool particulars:
    -15,000 gallons, rectangular freeform shape, 3' to 5' depth
    -Sta-Rite T200b sand filter/valve in an underground room with poor access (I know this is a poor quality/performing unit)
    -2.5hp (I think) electric motor
    -Concrete construction painted with white walls and blue bottom, both painted with deck/pool paint
    -2 skimmers (one 1.5" higher than the other), one drain, 7 jets

    This is a rental house and I have no intention of changing anything. When I build I would definitely build a much different set-up. Additionally, supplies beyond chlorine tablets, algaecide, "clarifier", muratic acid, soda ash & bottled chlorine cannot be found here. I had a simple chlorine/ph test kit.

    My story: until 5 weeks ago the pool was spotless. I did pay for some technicians to come out and change the sand in the filter (with...get this...construction sand, not fine sand. There is no fine sand available for pools) and repair two pipes into/out of the valve. I did routine maintenance as the landlord asked; one item was backwashing for 15 seconds (more on this later.)

    5 weeks ago the motor froze. I had our electrician come out and take the motor away for repairs (things are not replaced here, they are repaired.) That took 10 days to fix and reinstall, during which time I got a major green/yellow/brown algae bloom. I put a ton of chlorine and algaecide in the pool and did my best to circulate some water around. But it got ugly.

    When the motor came back, no matter how long I ran the pump/filter the water would not clear and the chlorine & ph went all over the chart. I was frustrated while chasing it up and down. I filtered the **** out of the pool. And when the pump was off, the water stayed almost brown and a lot of dead algae was on the bottom. No matter how many times I vacuumed the bottom, it would blow back in, settle on the bottom and cloud the pool-you could not see more than 2.5' into the water...and it was a greenish-brown color.

    Praying to the Innerweb Gods, I found this site and "did a f@<k!ng search" (DAFS). I learned the chemistry is all wrong and the backwashing needs to be 3 minutes and NOT 15 seconds.

    I eventually bombed the **** out of the pool, added a bunch of soda ash and ran the filter 24/7 for a couple of days...and the water slowly started cleaning.

    But when the pump was off, the dead algae would settle to the bottom, I'd vacuum it out...and it would just get blown back into the pool.

    I finally decided to add an extra 3" of water to the pool, set the valve on "discharge", blocked one skimmer inlet...and vacuumed the pool, where the algae was blown out as discharge. Not filtered, but removed.

    It worked. A little algae came back, so I repeated the process: more water, vacuum the bottom with the valve on discharge.

    I can only assume the algae was too small to be mechanically trapped in a bad sand filter, and sucking it out bypassing the filter into the field next door worked. The numbers are now more normal and stable, the water is now almost perfectly clear, I'd say 95% where I like it, not perfect but a massive improvement...but I don't want it to go back.

    My TFT100 arrived and here are my latest numbers:
    FC: 1.5
    CC: .5
    ph: 7.4
    CH: 50
    TA: 70
    CYA: 27

    Some of these values just ain't right, and I'd like to get them as close to within range as I can...and keep them there. I ask the community for suggestions, tips and advice on how best to fix the numbers and manage this pool.

    Again, thanks in advance for the help. I intend to make a contribution to TFT because it has already been a money and frustration saver.

    Robert
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Ok, understanding you are in a rental house and don't want to invest much in the pool, also based on previous messages from people in similar situations it seems bleach tends to be expensive and weak in many of these tropical locations. There are a couple of outside the box thoughts that come to mind:

    Thought number 1, consider gettting a drop in style SWG, these are mostly marketed for easy DIY with no need for plumbing work, one example is the Saltron Retro, marketed for up to 20K Gal, but that may be optimistic, check ebay there is one auction ending in a few hours with a current bid around $50, these retail for about $250, and may not be the best SWG on the market, but you get what you pay for.

    Thought number 2, for your poor filtration, consider getting a slime bag http://www.slimebag.com/ for most uses I would say they are an unnecessary item, but with your construction sand issue, it may be just the trick

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    That assumes the salt is cheap. Otherwise it could get expensive quick. I can guarantee the retro is overrated. But I know the guys at saltron and they know their stuff. There is a product called solar chlor that isa solar salt water chlorinator, that might work.
    8000 gal diamond brite pool with 650 gal spillover spa, Pentair 3hp VS pump. Jandy Cartridge filter and Jandy Heat Pump. Jandy PDA automation system with 2 Pentair Laminars. SmartPool NC74S Robotic Pool Cleaner.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    If table salt, etc is expensive there you might check out fisherman's salt, I can't think of the exact name of it, but it is widely used by commercial fisherman, but tends to contain more impurities than table salt, it is often in the form of rock salt, but can also be finer grained.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Welcome to the forum Doc, and thanks for the kind words about the forum. Glad you found us.

    You're on the right track with the first two steps, educating yourself and getting a good kit.

    I would suggest doing a SLAM procedure on the pool just to be sure. For this, and future FC needs, the liquid will be all you need. Do you know what strength is available? Hopefully 6% or better. See my sig line for the link. Ask questions about it if you need too.

    Depending on what else you can get down there will determine how to correct a couple of things.

    You need more CYA. This is sold as stabilizer conditioner in the states. Cyanuric Acid is what you are looking for. If you can get this separately that's the way to go. SLAM first, then look into that.

    Your calcium (CH) is a little low, and that needs addressing at some point soon. Again, SLAM first.

    TA is a touch low, but pH is good right now, so don't worry about that TA for the moment.

    Any chance your LL will reimburse or subtract rent for any of this?
    TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Looking at your numbers and your location... I'd say you're a good candidate to use Cal-hypo to SLAM, until CH gets up over 350 somewhere. By then, the water should be clear and you can use trichlor pucks to chlorinate a while. Maybe quite a while, if you get a lot of rain that will dilute things.
    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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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Thought number 2, for your poor filtration, consider getting a slime bag slimebag dot com for most uses I would say they are an unnecessary item, but with your construction sand issue, it may be just the trick

    Ike
    That's an interesting solution for the fine algae that isn't filtered. Their website doesn't say how many are needed. Just one? One per outlet? Any idea, Ike?
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    It would probably work best with one per outlet as they do cause some back pressure and leaving an outlet open would probably reduce flow through the bag considerably as water will try to take the path of least resistance , but not enough to prevent it from working completely. I have one I bought for emergency filtration a year or two ago, I had a below ground suction leak and while the main pump was down during the repair I used a small diesel powered water pump and one of these slime bags to maintain circulation and filtration. If it were me I would start with one mid size bag and add to it if needed. I did not buy their plumbing adapter fitting, instead I just used some scrap PVC I already had on hand.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    It would probably work best with one per outlet as they do cause some back pressure and leaving an outlet open would probably reduce flow through the bag considerably as water will try to take the path of least resistance , but not enough to prevent it from working completely. I have one I bought for emergency filtration a year or two ago, I had a below ground suction leak and while the main pump was down during the repair I used a small diesel powered water pump and one of these slime bags to maintain circulation and filtration. If it were me I would start with one mid size bag and add to it if needed. I did not buy their plumbing adapter fitting, instead I just used some scrap PVC I already had on hand.

    Ike
    I have a minimum of 4 outlets. 4 Bags?
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Just when I thought I was on top of my problem, I went out a while ago and brushed the small amount of dirt/algae toward the main drain. Then I turned the pump on to filter.

    To my horror each outlet-all 8 of them-were spewing brown whatever back into the pool for 7-10 seconds...then clean water

    WTH?????

    What could cause this?

    Frustrated, indeed...
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Sounds like that sand is letting stuff back through, or you have a broken lateral or other gap inside the filter letting things back through.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    Sounds like that sand is letting stuff back through, or you have a broken lateral or other gap inside the filter letting things back through.
    I'm not sure.

    Early on some techs came out and changed the sand. No one said anything about a broken lateral, and it looked like an enormous amount of work.

    The sand may be a problem. It's not filter sand, but construction sand.

    I understand some DE may help filtration. I had a DE filter in FL. My concern is the DE would work it's way back into the pool.

    You can't even see the yellow/brown particles. It's much finer than dirt. It makes a quickly diffused cloud when sweeping or vacuuming. The pool looks sparkling after vacuuming, then the super-fine particles come back after the pump has been off for several hours and things settle down.
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    gtemkin's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by DR Robert View Post
    ….No one said anything about a broken lateral, and it looked like an enormous amount of work...
    Unfortunately, when plastic laterals get old they can be extremely delicate. They can crack without anyone even realizing it. If the brown stuff is sand you should be able to grab some grains and feel its grittiness. Maybe tape a cloth bag over your discharge hose when you vacuum and look at whatever brown stuff is in the discharge.
    21K gal 16' x 40' in-ground pool built 1959, old school with Jacuzzi bronze pump, American Products 24" Sand Filter & Americana Multiport valve, Jandy Lite2 millivolt heater, Coverstar cover, and classic Kreepy Krauly.

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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    It's not filter sand, but construction sand.
    That's pretty close to a deal breaker. Construction sand has not been cleaned, has a lot of wrong size grains, and should NEVER be used in a pool filter. Did you pay the guys who put it in?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  15. Back To Top    #15
    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Unfortunately he had too, and use what is availible there on the island. It stinks, but it seems there may not be much choice.

    Dr. Robert, I know it's rental property, but is there any chance of getting a proper setup on the SF at all? It might be worth getting rid of the grief even though it costs. Maybe....the landlord could be convinced to help on it? Sorry I asked that, just thinking of all options. I know you are trying the fine micron filter, but if the sand continues to come out, you may have no choice but to re-fill it eventually.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    Unfortunately he had too, and use what is availible there on the island. It stinks, but it seems there may not be much choice.

    Dr. Robert, I know it's rental property, but is there any chance of getting a proper setup on the SF at all? It might be worth getting rid of the grief even though it costs. Maybe....the landlord could be convinced to help on it? Sorry I asked that, just thinking of all options. I know you are trying the fine micron filter, but if the sand continues to come out, you may have no choice but to re-fill it eventually.
    It's not sand that keeps coming back.

    It's dead algae, so fine that it covers every horizontal surface when the pump has been off for a couple of hours.

    I can vacuum the pool and it looks great, clear water! The chemicals are fine, well within range (and I did shock the **** out of it a couple of weeks ago). But shut the pump off and a very fine layer of yellow/brown settles everywhere in a couple of hours.

    I could sweep sand. I did this before when the new sand was put into the filter. Easy. I can't sweep this. The pool brush just makes this stuff go *poof*, diffused into surrounding water.

    It's that fine.

    I had no problem with the pool and this stuff before the pump died and I had a 10+ day major algae bloom. It's gotten better when I vacuum to waste, but that is a huge waste of water...and a lot still comes back.
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    Unfortunately he had too, and use what is availible there on the island. It stinks, but it seems there may not be much choice.

    I think I paid about $90 for two guys to come from the big city an hour away and replace the sand...including sand...in a small 10" deep pump room with a 24" square hole to go down.

    Dr. Robert, I know it's rental property, but is there any chance of getting a proper setup on the SF at all? It might be worth getting rid of the grief even though it costs. Maybe....the landlord could be convinced to help on it? Sorry I asked that, just thinking of all options. I know you are trying the fine micron filter, but if the sand continues to come out, you may have no choice but to re-fill it eventually.


    Rental agreements are different here. The tenant is responsible for all that requires maintenance or repairs. When you rent a place here you need to do a home inspection similar to buying a house in the states.

    And I have an incredible deal on this house: 3500sf, 2-car garage (for our 11 motorcycles) w opener & apartment, 5br/3.5ba, large pool, wind generator and 1/4ac. with great security...for $600mo. I don't want to rattle my landlord.

    Here is "Camp Moto": https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...2476838&type=1

    BYW: I'm not a doctor. DR stands for "Dominican Republic." I'm just a poor country boy doing motorcycle tours in Paradise...
    15k gal, IG concrete, 2.5hp pump, Sta-Rite T200b sand filter, manual chlorine

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Well we can just call you DR then. I'd say you're doin better than this poor country boy here for sure! Sounds like fun and that's a heck of a deal on that kind of place. Nice! Do let us know how it progresses with the bags.
    TFP Moderator
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  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: My Frustrating Pool Story

    Quote Originally Posted by DR Robert View Post


    Rental agreements are different here. The tenant is responsible for all that requires maintenance or repairs. When you rent a place here you need to do a home inspection similar to buying a house in the states.

    And I have an incredible deal on this house: 3500sf, 2-car garage (for our 11 motorcycles) w opener & apartment, 5br/3.5ba, large pool, wind generator and 1/4ac. with great security...for $600mo. I don't want to rattle my landlord.

    Here is "Camp Moto": https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...2476838&type=1

    BYW: I'm not a doctor. DR stands for "Dominican Republic." I'm just a poor country boy doing motorcycle tours in Paradise...
    You are living my dream! I can understand many of your problems with the DR system. However, you still living my dream. I am only 11 years and counting to retire somewhere in that beautiful country.

    Take good care and please remember how difficult things are for the average person to maintain a nice pool with such a limited resources

    G.
    22k plaster pool kidney shape. Pentair 4000 de series 48 ft. 2 SKIMMERS, 2 drains (pool and spa), 3 returns (2 pool and 1 spa) gas heater and pentair intelliflow , Underwater pentair light.

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