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Thread: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

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    Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    I bought my house in June of 2013 and we moved in right around July. I had a pool inspection done and the pool guy told me the pool was a 16' x 32' Grecian and was roughly 25,000 gallons. I was told the pool had a new liner, new pump, and new filter sand. There is a pile of sand in my backyard which I can only assume was the old sand. The pool was sparkling clear when we moved in and we maintained it with Walmart/pool store chemicals. We had a basic OTO kit from Walmart as well. We'd have the occasional algae bloom, but would shock it and vac whenever that occurred. It seemed to be working fine. I decided to close the pool (which I probably shouldn't have done living in Mobile, Alabama). I put in a closing kit from Intheswim.com, put a cover on it for the winter, and turned the timer down to three 1 hour intervals per day. I can't recall, but think we closed it around mid-November. Fast forward to March 30, 2014. We got lazy and pulled the cover off without pumping off the water or clearing the leaves. I'm still kicking myself for that. This is what it looked like:

    pool start.JPG

    I tried to rake out as many of the leaves and pine needles as possible, but given the color of the water, it's impossible to see down to the bottom of even the shallow end. We got an Ultimate Opening kit from Intheswim.com, but before we used it, I took a sample of my water to Leslie's. They tested the water and the results were:

    FAC = 0
    TAC = 0
    Alk = 50
    pH = 7.0
    Base Demand = 2
    Phosphates = 200

    I ended up buying some more shock (9 lbs 73% calpho), Green to Clean, and Soda Ash. I folllowed the instructions they gave me, added some Algaecide in the process. I ran the filter 24 hours a day for several days. I used skimmer socks and have backwashed twice so far. I also ended up shocking the pool again (6 lbs 68% calpho) last weekend and putting four 3" chlorine tabs in my floater. At this point, I'm running the filter 6 hours a days now from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. This is what my water looks like now:

    pool today.JPG

    It's been cloudy like this for over a week and I decided I don't wanna keep throwing money at this pool without some help, so I found this site, started reading pool school, and bought a TF-100 kit & Speedstir. So now I come to you all begging for any help you can provide. I tested the water today and here are my results:

    OTO = 1-2 ppm
    pH = 6.8
    CYA = ~30-35 (two tests, the first test I thought it was 50-55)
    CH = 170-200
    Alk = 80-100
    FC = .5-1 ppm
    CC = .5-1 ppm
    TC = 1-2 ppm

    Seems like I need more chlorine and need to raise the pH. Of course, due to the cloudiness of the water, I still can't see the bottom of the pool so I'm raking blindly. Occasionally I'll pull up a few more leaves and pine needles, but for the most part I end up coming up empty. Until I get the water clear, I can't really be certain that I've got everything out of it. Pool Math seems to state that I need one jug of 8.25% bleach, 324 oz. of Borax, 35 oz. of Stablizer, and 177 oz. of calcium chloride though I'm leery of adding calcium to the water. Any idea as to what I can due to clear my pool up for the season?

    Kevin T

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Welcome to the forum!!

    Since you've done a little reading, got the kit and speedstir on order, and realize that the pool store is doing you no favors, you're about 65% of the way there. Good work.

    Next step is to SLAM the pool. I assume you already read that article in Pool School and have already seen other members successfully clean their swamps. If not, start reading, there's a lot to learn.

    With the exception of pH and FC, all of your other numbers are just fine for now. Raise pH with soda ash or borax. Who knows how low it is, so you'll want to target 7.2, but do it in two doses, half the borax/soda ash at a time.

    Then you'll need to raise FC to SLAM level. See if you can get a little more precise on your CYA reading. Take the reading with your back to full sunlight, holding the tube at your waist. It's tough at first, but you'll get the hang of it. Raise your FC to SLAM level using plain bleach. If your pool size and CYA estimate is correct, you'll need about 5 gallons to get it there. How much bleach is dependent on CYA, so this one you may want to creep up on as well, especially since you're not 100% on how many gallons are in there.

    Keep the questions coming, and keep the pictures coming!
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Welcome to TFP!

    The most important things right now are to get the PH up to at least 7.0, preferably 7.2, and raise the FC (chlorine) level. I also recommend you run the filter 24/7 until the water clears up.

    There is no reason to worry about TA, CH, Alk, CYA, etc right now. Adjust the PH once right now, and then focus on maintaing higher FC levels until the water clears up. That looks like a vinyl liner pool. If so, there is never any reason to add any calcium.

    As several others will probably explain in detail, "shocking" the pool is a half measure, what you really need to do is SLAM the pool. To really do that properly you should get a top quality test kit (no better investment in your pool is possible) and do some reading in Pool School.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Welcome to TFP !
    Follow the advice you have already gotten.
    Here is the SLAM process.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...tain-shockingl
    Also do take the time to learn our methods we teach here. Once you gain the knowledge you will have a Trouble Free Pool !
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Keep those pictures coming! We love green-to-clean stories!

    Once you have your test kit and get moving on the SLAM, expect things to change quickly. While you wait for the test kit, load up on bleach. Shop for a good price and load up the car. Pool season is starting, and there tends to be spot shortages right when you need more. As my Dad used to joke, "Stock up before the hoarders get to it."
    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: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    You are well on your way! Smykowski pretty much got you in right direction. Based on your comments in your second set of results, it looks like you received your kit and ran your first tests. The SLAM process will help familiarize you with your kit even more.

    The only thing that has my attention is your stated pool size/capacity. You have 16'x32' and 25000 gallons. If that was the case, it would have to be almost 7' deep for the entire length of the pool or a really deep deep end. Does that sound right? Just double checking.

    Welcome aboard!
    15'x30' IG - Roman-style - 14K - Pebble Fina Classico
    Filter: Jandy CL460 Pump: Jandy Stealth SHPF1.5 SWG: Jandy AquaPure 1400 Cleaner: Jandy RayVac Test Kit: TF-100 w/SpeedStir

    Chlorine/CYA Chart----Extended Test Kit Directions----SLAM

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    I received my TF-100 kit and Speedstir yesterday. That's where my second set of test results came from. The volume of the pool is what was told to me by the pool inspector. However, using a calculator for a rectangular pool that is 16' x 32' with ~3' shallow end and ~8 deep end, I get 21,100 gallons. According to this site:

    http://www.julianospools.com/GrecianGallery.html

    A 17' x 33' Grecian with an 8' deep end is 19,050 gallons. Maybe I should split the difference and call my pool 20,000 gallons. I'll have to double check my deep end, but my shallow is 39" deep per this morning's measurement.

    Based on my CYA, Pool Math seems to indicate that I need to raise my FC level to 16 for the SLAM method. I'll start adding Borax this evening to get pH up before I start adding bleach. I can buy a 121 oz. jug of Walmart bleach locally for $2.98 plus tax. It's 8.25% sodium hypo, but the label also says it's 7.86% yield. Not sure which figure to use. I'll pick up some more Borax (I already have three 4.75 lb boxes) and buy 5-6 jugs of bleach this evening.

    It looks like I need to add 2 lbs of Borax to raise pH to 7.2. Should I just mix all 2 lbs in a bucket of pool water and pour it into the skimmer or do 1 lb, wait, and measure? Obviously, I want to try using the BBB method on my pool to save $$$ on pool store chemicals. Unfortunately, the wife isn't so convinced and thinks we just need to dump clarifier into the pool to clear up the water. I'm still trying to convince her otherwise.

    Kevin T

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Quote Originally Posted by kgturner View Post
    Maybe I should split the difference and call my pool 20,000 gallons.
    That's what I would do.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgturner View Post
    Based on my CYA, Pool Math seems to indicate that I need to raise my FC level to 16 for the SLAM method. I'll start adding Borax this evening to get pH up before I start adding bleach. I can buy a 121 oz. jug of Walmart bleach locally for $2.98 plus tax. It's 8.25% sodium hypo, but the label also says it's 7.86% yield. Not sure which figure to use. I'll pick up some more Borax (I already have three 4.75 lb boxes) and buy 5-6 jugs of bleach this evening.
    16 looks good. You can fine tune it as you get better with the CYA test. Use the 8.25% figure on the bleach. You can add the borax directly to the pool. For now, I would add short of the recommended amounts to see how it affects the levels. Better to undershoot then overshoot.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgturner View Post
    Unfortunately, the wife isn't so convinced and thinks we just need to dump clarifier into the pool to clear up the water. I'm still trying to convince her otherwise.
    Under normal circumstances, I would advise you to do what your wife says. But not this time. No clarifier needed. Just follow the recommended process.
    15'x30' IG - Roman-style - 14K - Pebble Fina Classico
    Filter: Jandy CL460 Pump: Jandy Stealth SHPF1.5 SWG: Jandy AquaPure 1400 Cleaner: Jandy RayVac Test Kit: TF-100 w/SpeedStir

    Chlorine/CYA Chart----Extended Test Kit Directions----SLAM

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    OK. I hit up Walmart and got eight jugs (121 oz) of 8.25% bleach and two more boxes of Borax (total of 5 now). I called around and my local Pinch-A-Penny claims to sell 2.5 gallon refillable rugs of 15% liquid chlorine for 8.99. Refills are 6.76. This may work out to a better deal than the bleach. I'll look into it this weekend as I thought the highest I'd find would be 12.5%. I asked twice though and he verified it was 15%. So, once I get my pH up to 7.2+, how much bleach do I add? Pool Math says to go from FC of 1 to 16, I need 3.5 gallons of 8.25%. Should I add it all at once or do a gallon, wait, a gallon, wait, etc.....?

    Kevin T

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Quote Originally Posted by kgturner View Post
    OK. I hit up Walmart and got eight jugs (121 oz) of 8.25% bleach and two more boxes of Borax (total of 5 now). I called around and my local Pinch-A-Penny claims to sell 2.5 gallon refillable rugs of 15% liquid chlorine for 8.99. Refills are 6.76. This may work out to a better deal than the bleach. I'll look into it this weekend as I thought the highest I'd find would be 12.5%. I asked twice though and he verified it was 15%. So, once I get my pH up to 7.2+, how much bleach do I add? Pool Math says to go from FC of 1 to 16, I need 3.5 gallons of 8.25%. Should I add it all at once or do a gallon, wait, a gallon, wait, etc.....?

    Kevin T
    All at once. You want to hit it so hard it can't fight back. And check it again in two hours or so and add whatever it takes to get FC back up there. The more conistently you keep FC at the SLAM level, the faster it will clear.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threads/55013-A-little-encouragement-for-those-with-algae-and-new-to-BBB check out the pictures.
    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: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    All at once. You want to hit it so hard it can't fight back.
    OK then. Once I get the pH up, I'll break out a can (jugs) of liquid whoop @$$ on it. Thanks.

    Kevin T

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    You are going to love the way we keep our pools! You will wonder what took you so long to find TFP!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Hope y'all don't mind my jumping in here but kgturner I'm in Montgomery and I swear we have the same pool. Mine also looked like yours a couple of months ago so let your wife know this method has been a life saver and money saver for me. I'm female and do 100% of the pool care. Hubby isn't really a swimmer and is clueless. I measured mine as 16 x 36 and est. 23,500 gal which has worked fine. It will look like this in no time. image.jpg
    Montgomery, AL
    27000 16 x 36 IG, Vinyl, Grecian, Hayward Sand filter, 1 HP Pentair whisperflo motor, Aqua Genie filter not by choice, no extra jets, Dolphin s300i robotic cleaner,Taylor K 2006 test kit, speed-stir which I couldn't live without!

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Got my pH up to ~7.5. Just added 4 jugs of 8.25% bleach and scrubbed the pool as best as I could since I'm scrubbing blind on the bottom. How often should I check FC level?

    Kevin t

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    If you could check in an hour that would be great. I wouldn't go more than say 2 hours if you can help it in the beginning. The longer the FC stays at SLAM level the better off you are.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Hourly when you can, and as often as you can otherwise.

    Even though you are scrubbing blind, keep doing that. You are making sure all the algae etc comes into contact with the bleach in the water.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    I checked my FC level is unless I'm doing the test wrong, it's really not going up much. I started around .5 ppm. I added 4 jugs of bleach and it went up to ~4 ppm though the calculator says it should be 16 ppm. I added another jug and I'm testing again. The problem is when I test my 10mL sample, I'll add about 8 drops and the water will turn clear. If I turn off the Speedstir and let the water sit for a minute, it'll turn pink again. Do I keep adding drops until it doesn't turn pink again at all after sitting?

    Kevin T

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    It's normal for it to turn back to pink if it sits for a bit. Once it turns clear that's your reading.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    The moment you pour bleach in the pool, it begins killing algae, and the FC is "consumed" by that process. If you are waiting any length of time between the dose and the subsequent test, it very likely could already be used up.

    Given the condition of your pool, this is all normal.

    The FC will hold longer and longer the further you get into the process. This is why at the beginning of the SLAM, it's important to test and dose every 30-60 min. The more you can keep the FC at SLAM level, the faster you'll progress through the process.
    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: Just opened the pool for the first time and need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski View Post
    The moment you pour bleach in the pool, it begins killing algae, and the FC is "consumed" by that process. If you are waiting any length of time between the dose and the subsequent test, it very likely could already be used up.

    Given the condition of your pool, this is all normal.

    The FC will hold longer and longer the further you get into the process. This is why at the beginning of the SLAM, it's important to test and dose every 30-60 min. The more you can keep the FC at SLAM level, the faster you'll progress through the process.
    OK. I'll just keep plugging away at it. I was just concerned about the amount of bleach I've used so far. I just added 5 more jugs. After ~1 hour my FC is ~ 21 ppm, but now I'm out of bleach. Pinch-A-Penny opens in an hour. I may get 5 gallons of their 15% chlorine. I suppose the pool didn't get this way overnight so it want be cleared up overnight either.

    Kevin T

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