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Thread: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

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    Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    New pool owner, it came with the house. I am trying to get it into shape after opening it almost 2 weeks ago. I am having a frustrating day and to top it all off, my favorite Crocs flip flops busted apart while trying to skim with the leaf rake

    Here are my readings:
    Chlorine - >.5
    PH - 7.8
    TA - 130
    CH - 225
    CYA - >20 I never got the dot to even get cloudy
    Salt - 2740

    My water looks gorgeous and clear, it shows nicely just how much stuff is at the bottom of the pool. I have a layer of pollen all over the back yard so I'm assuming I have what are clumps of pollen on the pool floor. We also had some thunderstorms all day yesterday so there are some leaves on the bottom, too.

    I went to manually vacuum the pool today and could get absolutely no suction from the skimmer. On Monday, I added 2 pounds of stabilizer (out of the 4 recommended) to bring up my CYA. I added it directly to the skimmer (now I see I probably shouldn't have done that) and it seems like it's all laying in the bottom of the skimmer and I have no suction at all.

    On Sunday, I added 200 pounds of salt. It was still saying low salt level, so I added 120 pounds more on Tuesday. I have not turned the SWG on yet since it's been raining but checking with a salt strip, I am still going to be too low to get it running.

    I don't know which way to turn now. Dump in bleach to get the chlorine level up and then more salt and then SWG?

    I do have a Polaris 280 that runs just fine but it isn't picking up the fine silt/pollen on the bottom, it looks like it just sweeps it around. Should I keep running the pump 24hrs a day? How do I get this pool clean?

    HELP! Thanks!

    Inground, 16,000 gallon gunite pool. SWG, Hayward Sand Filter. Polaris 280 robot for cleaning.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    Is your FC .5 or-----5? If .5---just add bleach per your 16k gallons using pool math until the SWG is ready to go. You should always run your pump 24 hours straight after adding either salt or cya (and brush the salt). Sounds like first order of business is to get that skimmer skimming again and keep from burning up the pump if it's getting no water to it.. Scoop up/out the cya and put it in a sock or panty hose and add it to the skimmer basket. Probably not that much at one time though.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    What is your water temperature like? Have you backwashed your filter? I ask because, number one, you are not going to get the bottom clean without some suction and number two, your SWG won't work if you water isn't somewhere around 60 degrees.
    Walnut Creek, CA. 18k gallon Pebble Sheen + 1.5k gallon IG spa, 1.5hp whisperflo main pump, Pentair clean and clear 420, Intellichlor IC20, Polaris 360 w/booster,Jandy lite 2 natural gas, plus solar with Heliomatic 5000 controller and 3/4 hp booster

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    You need to be adding bleach to maintain appropriate FC levels or the pool will not stay clear for long.

    You also need to figure out what is going on with you skimmer. Where is the CYA sitting? Hopefully you did not clog the skimmer plumbing. Is the main pump running and pulling from the floor? Vacuuming would help, but you have to get the skimmer working.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    When you added the CYA to the skimmer was it skimming (could it be turned off at the pump)?
    Gerry
    27' x 54" AG Salt Water Pool Installed 2014, Hayward 23" Sand Filter, 1 HP 2-Speed Power-Flo Matrix Pump, AQ-TROL SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    Water temp is about 68 degrees F. My pump is running with plenty of water - as long as I keep both lines open. If I close the one I think is skimmer I lose water.


    7000 Gal IG pool, gunite construction, intellichlor SWG, Hayward sand filter, 1hp pump
    First year pool owner: 17,000 gal IG gunite, kidney shape approx 13' x 17'; 1 HP pump, Hayward sand filter, Intellichlor SWG, Polaris 280 robot, all run by EasyTouch. Using TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    @jblizzle I have no problem adding bleach to get my FC level up but would like to get the SWG going since I have added all this salt I guess I just don't how to transition from bleach to SWG.
    THE pump is running, pulling from the floor drains I assume. I will take a pic of what my skimmer looks like with the CYA added. I actually never seemed to have much suction from the skimmers.


    7000 Gal IG pool, gunite construction, intellichlor SWG, Hayward sand filter, 1hp pump
    First year pool owner: 17,000 gal IG gunite, kidney shape approx 13' x 17'; 1 HP pump, Hayward sand filter, Intellichlor SWG, Polaris 280 robot, all run by EasyTouch. Using TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    Here is a pic of my skimmer, it has a lot of granuals in the bottom and I can scoop some out of the hole


    7000 Gal IG pool, gunite construction, intellichlor SWG, Hayward sand filter, 1hp pump
    First year pool owner: 17,000 gal IG gunite, kidney shape approx 13' x 17'; 1 HP pump, Hayward sand filter, Intellichlor SWG, Polaris 280 robot, all run by EasyTouch. Using TF-100 test kit.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    You transition by turning the SWG on and dialing in the % to maintain adequate FC, but you should raise FC before that with bleach.

    Is there a hole under that pile of CYA? Is it capped or is it now clogged?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    I would open the pump basket and shove a garden hose into the line that comes from the skimmer. Wrap it with cloth where it goes in so it gets a good seal. Hopefully you can force the CYA back up through.
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    I have been doing exactly what you suggested JesseWV, so far it does seem to be helping.

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    There is a definite hole there, I can put the garden hose in it. There is a second hole that is capped, I left it be when opening after reading that normally the second hole stays with the plug in it. I was thinking about this on my drive home tonight, I have never successfully gotten the skimmer drain to work enough to manually vacuum. We tried when I first opened the pool (2 weeks ago) and it never did give enough suction. I have a pipe snake, think I should stick it down there and see if there are any blockages?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have not backwashed the filter in a week. I just noticed the psi is getting up there on the filter, around 15-18. I was not going to backwash until the CYA dissolved (I thought anyway)

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    Wouldn't hurt to try.

    When you try to pull from the skimmer only, do you get air bubbles in your pump basket?
    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: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    I think it was, yes. I know I could turn the valve at the pump to run one side only (I think it was just the skimmer side, they were not marked) and it would run water. Now when I do the same thing, I am pulling nothing but air.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, first air bubbles then the pump basket goes dry. Snake from the skimmer or from the pool pump side?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    You have a T with two plain valves. Most people would have a pool-grade 3-way valve to switch flow. In your case, you'll need to close one and open the other. If 100% skimmer starves your pump, then you have a blockage somewhere. I would go real easy with a snake. They don't like sharp corners and it could mess up the valve. But if blowing the clog backwards doesn't do it, that's about your only choice.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Should it pull this skimmer plug?

    Ok you guys have been so helpful with me and what might be a skimmer blockage (see my thread from yesterday called "frustrated - I think the pool is beating me"). My husband and I have been working with this quite a lot, he was going to try to snake from the skimmer basket. It appears the unplugged hole (see pic) goes nowhere. Which would explain why turning to skimmer only at the pump would starve the pump.

    I originally thought those plugs should come out but reading up I saw that usually one remains plugged, so I left them. Looking at it today, we can truly not find that the unplugged hole goes anywhere. When I opened for spring the plugs were in as shown and the other hole had an upside down jug of antifreeze.

    What do you think pool experts?


    16,000 Gal IG pool, gunite construction, intellichlor SWG, Hayward sand filter, 1hp pump
    First year pool owner: 17,000 gal IG gunite, kidney shape approx 13' x 17'; 1 HP pump, Hayward sand filter, Intellichlor SWG, Polaris 280 robot, all run by EasyTouch. Using TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Should it pull this skimmer plug?

    Sorry, I don't have an answer to your question, but I was reading about skimmers last night and found this link in another thread and thought it was useful.

    http://blog.poolcenter.com/article.aspx?articleid=6327

    Hopefully it helps you as well. Good luck.
    23,000 gal, in-ground, plaster with 24" sand filter, 1.5" piping.

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    Re: Should it pull this skimmer plug?

    If the antifreeze was in the open line that's most likely the line to the pump. The other hole that's capped can be used for various things when the plumbing is first set up, but most agree it's better to leave it capped.

    Are you sure it's not just still plugged up with stabilizer? Using a hose at the pump basket to clear the blockage will only work well if your valves are set to 100% skimmer. It might also help to put a ShopVac hose down in the hole at the skimmer at the same time you're running the hose from the other end.

    Also, It would be helpful if this thread was joined with the old one since it's still about the same thing.

    Topics merged. Please never ask the same question in more than one place. JasonLion
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Should it pull this skimmer plug?

    Thanks for your help, guys. The skimmer article was very helpful! It looks like we have the common skimmer set up but instead of the hole closest to the pool being plugged, we have the hole on the outside plugged with a square head plug. I felt all around in there and couldn't feel any stabilizer. I shop vac'd it all out yesterday as far as I can tell. I did have the valves set to 100% skimmer when I was trying to clear from the pump.

    I will be happy to join the two threads, if you can tell me how or flag an admin to do it. Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ah I see admin took care of joining the topics, thanks! I will keep it all in one place from now on.

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    Re: Frustrated - I think the pool is beating me!

    I thought I would give an update if anyone is interested So after all this concern about about a clog with the stabilizer, we've determined the skimmers are still plugged, lol. I went to a local pool store, showed them my pictures and talked to them about what the skimmer looks like. My husband and I are both convinced both holes are plugged (the one that looks opened is capped from beneath) and they said "could be, it does look like those were closed in winterizing." I texted a friend who has owned pools and does all the opening and closing on his own, he said DO NOT PULL THAT PLUG! Then he came over, looked it over and said "hmm, those plugs need to be pulled." We couldn't get them pulled out with a basin wrench or vice grips. I sent a text to the previous owners and asked who closed it for him last fall. He gave me the store's name and I am going to call them Monday to see if they can get those plugs out. I really appreciate everyone's help and I'm really glad I didn't clog the line with stabilizer! I still need to add more but believe me, I'm going to be adding it to a sock in front of a return

    Oh and one more update - got the SWG running and all the lights are green and my chlorine level looks great this morning. One success at a time!
    Last edited by sunshineleah; 04-27-2014 at 09:19 AM. Reason: update

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