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Thread: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

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    Join Date
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    Post Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    Bought this house with a pool 2 months ago. First time pool owner, we moved from Iowa...before the polar vortex nonsense started.

    We currently have a pool guy whom we took over from the former owners, there was so much to deal with in the move I wasn't about to try and learn to maintain a pool right off the bat. Unfortunately signed a year-long contract before realizing I'm pretty underwhelmed with this guy. He comes for 5 min once a week, swaps out the tablet, skims out floaters, every so often runs a vac over the bottom. I've never seen him run a test or gather a water sample. We're usually busy running out the door in the morning when he comes, so I haven't taken the time to ask him if he even knows the numbers for the pool.

    Got myself a TK-1000 and have done a few tests over the last week with results somewhat in agreement (I figure some of the error is in lack of practice on my part):
    FC 7.5-12
    CC 0
    pH 7.9-8.0
    TA 120-170
    CH 175-225
    CYA 60
    Other pool stats are in the signature.

    There is an air leak in the wonky PVC plumbing near the pump inlet. There's a bunch of silicone caulk slapped around this akimbo joint, I'm thinking of just globbing some more on there until I figure out how / have time to replace the plumbing that looks like it was slapped together by Cousin Joe and is just sitting on the pavers of our patio next to the house. This results in the pump not being primed when it starts, air in the pump trap and filter housing while it runs, and little "blurps" of air bubbles every 5 seconds from the jets.

    There is an SWG installed, but apparently the former owner was not using it, nor are we. Pool mechanic guy (not the maintenance guy) says it "works fine, you just need 250 lbs of salt. It'll feel better in your eyes and look nicer". Pool maintenance guy says "those things are a hassle, you have to run the pump all the time, a lot of my clients aren't using theirs anymore". On the advice of Florida Power & Lighting, I changed the pool timer from 8 hrs to 4 hrs for the winter, and 'cause it makes a lot of noise (not like bearing worn out noise, just normal running noise) sitting on the patio. I'm working from home for the time being, it was a definite disturbance.

    We've had an (apparently) very warm winter in Miami and have taken a few plunges when it gets in the 80s. The water seems quite enjoyable, and we haven't noticed any real problems so far.

    We plan to regularly travel overseas for extended (4+ week) periods every summer, and likely some longer (1-2 week) travel 1-2 times in the rest of the year.

    Here are my questions/concerns for this forum:
    - Is there anything I should be worried about/watch out for in those numbers? They seem somewhat off of recommendations here, but not radically so.
    - If I do manage to get rid of the lackluster pool dude, how can I maintain the pool when we're traveling? Is SWG the only chance?
    - Is it worth switching to the SWG, regardless?
    - Am I doing anything else wrong?
    - Borates???

    I've already learned so much reading all of the Pool School and forum posts, thanks for everyone's openness and enthusiasm! I think this will be a fun learning experience, really wanna whip this pool into shape.
    13500 gal IG plaster
    Sta-Rite 1.5 hp pump, Sta-Rite 125 gpm rated single cartridge filter, no heater

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    Borates should be the last thing to worry about on your "to do" list. I'd play with that FC test some. 7.5-12 is a pretty wild swing. Just about time to knock that PH down to 7.2 or 3ish. Pretty wide gap in your TA testing as well there. 120 is livable but 170---not so much. SWG use is largely a matter of convenience for you. Great to have if you travel a lot in the summer---------gotta add the salt though! Depending how much you're gone at a time, most of us get by just plopping a floater full of tabs in there until returning and use plain bleach the rest of the time. Welcome to the forum.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by bismark View Post
    FC 7.5-12
    CC 0
    pH 7.9-8.0
    TA 120-170
    CH 175-225
    CYA 60

    Here are my questions/concerns for this forum:
    - Is there anything I should be worried about/watch out for in those numbers? They seem somewhat off of recommendations here, but not radically so.
    - If I do manage to get rid of the lackluster pool dude, how can I maintain the pool when we're traveling? Is SWG the only chance?
    - Is it worth switching to the SWG, regardless?
    - Am I doing anything else wrong?
    - Borates???
    Your FC is way high with a CYA of 60. I had this problem and used Chlor Neutralizer to get that number down. You need to shoot for a FC target of 4. Chlor Neutralizer is a powder bought in a plastic 2lb canister at the pool store. Go easy with it. Use a little, run pump on high for about and hour or two. Test again and keep doing this until you hit your target.

    More importantly your pH & TA are high also. pH should be 7.5 - 7.6 and no higher than 7.8. TA is WAY high. Your TA should be 60-80. So, add acid and get your pH down to 7.2 (use pool math to calculate amount of acid) that will also lower your TA some. Aerate your pool to raise your pH back to 7.5 and that way you won't raise your TA. Keep doing this process until you achieve pH 7.5-7.6 and a TA of 60-80. This will probably take awhile (a few days at least, maybe a couple of weeks) because your TA is so high.

    Your CYA & CH are good.

    I didn't see any salt levels numbers above so can't comment on that. You should have around 3300 - 3500 or so for your SWG to operate correctly.

    Once you get good numbers across the board and are maintaining these numbers over time, I would think you'd know by then what % to set your SWG and run times to maintain a good FC while your on vacation. Make sure your numbers are good before you leave and the day you get back test because your pH & TA will probably need to be tweaked.

    As far as your pool dude…if he isn't testing or brushing the pool once a week that alone I would think would violate any basic pool maintenance contract and you should be able to fire him without any penalties. NO ONE will take care of your pool better than YOU!
    10k gal., Hydrozzo finish, in ground chlorine pool, No Spa, No Heater, Built in Oct 2012 TF-100 test kit Jandy Cartridge Filter CV340 Jandy VSFloPro Variable Speed Pump Model VS-FHP2.0 Hayward TigerShark QC Robotic Pool Cleaner RC9990GR Intermatic 100 watt Safety Transformer Model# PX 100 Intermatic Freeze Sentry PF 1202T.

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    Welcome to the forum Bismark!

    Do not worry with getting a Chlorine scavenger. This is not something I would advise at all, especially somewhere as low as 12 PPM.

    If FC is too high, it will come down in time. You don't want to get on that roller coaster of adding scavenger.

    Do spend some more time testing/practicing on that. A swing of 7-12 is too much variability as woodyP said.

    Focus on the pH for now as it is the most important. You can work on your TA over time, and that's what it will take to get it down.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    Here's my last test from yesterday:
    FC 9.5
    CC 0.5
    pH 7.9
    TA 110
    CH 175
    CYA 60

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    If FC is too high, it will come down in time. You don't want to get on that roller coaster of adding scavenger.

    Do spend some more time testing/practicing on that. A swing of 7-12 is too much variability as woodyP said.
    The 12 ppm may be an outlier. The rest of my readings have been 7.5-9.5, converging on 9.5 over the last 5 days (I'm testing about every other day). I haven't found a pattern yet, sun doesn't seem to reduce FC and the pool guy coming doesn't seem to change anything either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    Focus on the pH for now as it is the most important. You can work on your TA over time, and that's what it will take to get it down.
    OK. I'll try and find me some HCl, then.

    Thanks for the tips. It's nice to get a diversity of opinions that I feel I can trust.
    13500 gal IG plaster
    Sta-Rite 1.5 hp pump, Sta-Rite 125 gpm rated single cartridge filter, no heater

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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    Home Depot has the 31.45% muratic acid in 1 gal. jugs. Get at least a couple.

    And yeah, FC normally does come down pretty fast during summer months when the sun is high, hot and out a long time. That's the only reason I suggested using Chlor Neutralizer because it's still winter, sun is low and for my problem I wanted to knock this out so I could move on to others things I had to work on with my pool. And...it worked for me just fine with no issues. But normally I wouldn't of suggested that as Brushpup said.

    For right now as the others have said your pH & TA should be your main concern. Once you get those numbers right, maintaining the rest of your pool becomes a whole lot easier.
    10k gal., Hydrozzo finish, in ground chlorine pool, No Spa, No Heater, Built in Oct 2012 TF-100 test kit Jandy Cartridge Filter CV340 Jandy VSFloPro Variable Speed Pump Model VS-FHP2.0 Hayward TigerShark QC Robotic Pool Cleaner RC9990GR Intermatic 100 watt Safety Transformer Model# PX 100 Intermatic Freeze Sentry PF 1202T.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    I agree with Brushpup. Don't worry about your FC if it IS 12. It'll fall soon enough and won't hurt a thing.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Re: Newbie pool owner, worried about vacation, etc.

    If you get the SWG running, vacations are no longer a concern. It will maintain your FC for you.
    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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