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Thread: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

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    Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Hello,
    We moved into a house with a 20,000 gallon in-ground pool about 4 years ago. The SWG was not working at the time so we've been doing chlorine- but my husband finally fixed the SWG a few days ago. (it just had a leak, and he never spent much time trying to fix it before now) Up to this point I have left the pool maintenance up to him since he grew up with a pool and also did some work cleaning pools in his younger years. However, since he is busy at work and I am home with the kids I tend to be the one doing more and more of it. (as a side note, I am 6 months pregnant and have my husband actually adding the chemicals but I'm going to be telling him what it needs) Tomorrow we are having family over for a Memorial Day poolside BBQ and the pool is green again. Algae has been a problem the last two summers. In hopes we can clear it up in time for the get-together I bought some commercial pool shock and water clarifier at walmart. In the past this has sometimes turned the pool around overnight, using the shock at night and clarifying in the morning. I still have questions though on how to best keep our pool from getting in this state!

    I'll give as much details as I can from what I have gathered from obsessively reading this site the last 24 hours.

    Filter type- sand
    Current chemical balance: High combined chlorine (5+), low FC (1.5?), PH about 6.8 (although I added baking soda to it this morning and haven't retested yet, didn't read any info about borax until just now and thought we were all out of Ph increasing stuff! Hopefully it's raised up enough so the shock can work ok)
    Salt- 4.5 (not sure if that is ppm or what- hubby just said that is what the readout on the SWG is and that it's supposed to be closer to 3)
    Pool liner- fiberglass

    We don't have the proper test kit- just a very basic chlorine/pH kit...so I don't have any other info to give! Last year we struggled alot with mustard algae. We ended up using a bunch of pool shock, the "angry egg" product, algaecides, etc. This year, before hubby fixed the SWG, we purchased a large container of dichlor from Sams Club.

    Questions:
    -We are on a tight summer budget, is the pool kit worth the money or would having a pool store test the water be more economical just for this season?
    -How do we know what percentage to run the SWG at? I think the instruction manual is long gone.
    -Why does the SWG need to be turned off for 24 hours after adding salt? We did not know this and didn't do it! Will that cause damage?
    -Why is it slightly better to run the SWG during daylight hours as opposed to at night?
    -If SWG tends to need more CYA, and dichlor increases CYA...would it be better or at least ok to use up what we already purchased from Sams when the FC needs quick increasing? Or is bleach still preferable?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who takes time to reply. I am hoping we can do a much better job with the pool this summer (and maybe not spend so much money on treating it).

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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    First of all congrats on the new addition!

    The test kit is key to successfully maintaining your pool. I would suspect that if your test kit really stated you had a combine chlorine of +5 you have some serious sanitizing to do. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the pool will most likely not be ready for tomorrow. I believe it would be very helpful if you went ahead and ordered yourself a TF-100 or a k-2006 so that we can get accurate test results which the pool store typically doesn't provided. The dichlor would be great to use to get your cya up to the minimum for a swg, but I would wait for your test kit to test for yourself just in case your cya wasn't already high.

    Go ahead and start reading through pool school if you haven't already and order yourself a test kit so that we can properly advise on where you need to go.


    Fiberglass/Concrete IG
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Hi, welcome to TFP! You will not come out ahead if you allow a pool store to do your testing for you. A high quality test kit is an investment in your pool and will more than pay for itself over the course of a pool season. Remember, that place you are taking your water to be tested is a store. A store's reason for being is to sell stuff, and a pool store sells stuff based off the test results. When you have your own test kit, you know the results will be reliable. We recommend the Taylor K2006 or the TF100 ( see link in my signature below).

    You can't properly dose the pool until you know what the CYA level is. My best guess from what you have told us so far is that your CYA is too high. Go ahead a get a full set of tests run at the pool store and post the test results here. Do not buy anything until you get some feedback from us.
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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Questions:
    -We are on a tight summer budget, is the pool kit worth the money or would having a pool store test the water be more economical just for this season?
    A good test kit is an INVESTMENT in healthy pool maintenance and care. When you rely on the questionable free results a pool store provides you very well may get just what you paid for. Doing free testing is just the entry point for them to make a sale, right? We read stories here time and again of people walking out of pool stores with hundreds of dollars of unnecessary chemicals when if they just did their own tests (with the *right* test kit) they could have cared for and solved any problems with minimal cost and trouble. And they wouldn't have added totally unnecessary extra chemicals! Less can be more, y'know? Does a $68 kit cost more than those items you just bought which may or may not work?
    -How do we know what percentage to run the SWG at? I think the instruction manual is long gone.
    You learn by trial and error. If you set it for x hours and find the pool stays pristine you know you've got it. Then you can try to dial it back a couple of hours at a time with checks to confirm your CL level remains adequate (using that investment test kit again!) and the water still sparkles. Then perhaps in a week you dial back down another hour or so and monitor your CL and water quality. The minute the water starts to lose its sparkle or your CL isn't adequate (based on your CYA level) you know you'll have to adjust that setting a bit higher. Capisce?
    -Why does the SWG need to be turned off for 24 hours after adding salt? We did not know this and didn't do it! Will that cause damage?
    I dunno, but I'm sure someone else can pipe in with the explanation. As long as your CL level is appropriate for your pools CYA level, its still safe to swim in while you toss that salt in. Someone here has a kids party type event tossing the sparkly salt in and letting the kids swimming agitate it to help dissolve it. Until your salt is in and the SWG is dialed in you'll still need to augment with liquid chlorine and then just let the SWG take over maintaining that desired level.
    -Why is it slightly better to run the SWG during daylight hours as opposed to at night?
    I *think* it has something to do with the sun beating down on the pool and since SWG pools are often safely kept at a lower CL than other types of pools (because the chlorine is a consistent presence I believe ) that running at a time with highest chlorine demand might be the reason.
    -If SWG tends to need more CYA, and dichlor increases CYA...would it be better or at least ok to use up what we already purchased from Sams when the FC needs quick increasing? Or is bleach still preferable?
    If (assuming) your CYA is low enough that the addition of those tabs won't send it up too high.. sure. But that's a big if. CYA is necessary to shield the chlorine from sun but too much CYA changes how much free chlorine you need to keep available to maintain a sanitary pool. The more CYA you have the more chlorine you need. That can be both more costly than necessary but also a nuisance to deal with *if* a problem develops.
    As a sidenote- many folks without SWGs plan ahead and keep their CYA low enough that when they go on vacation they use the tabs while away knowing that the tabs CYA element won't send them over into that undesirable "too high CYA" point. But since you do have a SWG you should just rely on that when on vacay. If some year you *do* need to increase your CYA (based on your own reliable test using that investment kit again!) you can certainly use them then. I've read here that they keep for years so no rush to use them. Or trade them to a neighbor who hasn't learned how to do things the TFP way yet!
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    You have to spend a little money to save money.

    I took my pool water to 3 different pool stores in town-all are national brands. The water was all taken at the same time from the same place. They were all tested within 30 mins. of each other.

    Each "free" pool store test was VERY different! ALL of the said there was something wrong with my water and I needed to spend $$$ to fix it. The lowest was $58 and the highest was $127! Of course I would have to bring another sample in a week for them to test and make sure it was right.

    I had tested my water right before I left the house. It was right where it should be on all counts!

    So a "free" Pool store test is not so free OR RIGHT! LOL

    I am willing to bet that you CYA is off the charts and that is what is not allowing your bleach to do it's job.

    I SO understand it being hard to spend the money up front on our word. I would like to suggest you go the pool store with a sample of your water and see what they will want to sell you. How much will that ONE TIME FIX be? Then think about the test kit. It is good for many tests and all that you will have to buy afterwards is bleach and muriatic acid.

    Let us know how it goes.

    HUGS!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    There are cheaper places to get the k-2006 for i think $60 total the problem is they can take up to a week to get to you. I guess in a bind maybe test strips to get you close , but there is really no replacement for the test kit, my pool has never been so clear as it has using the test kit and tfp method and my normal pool supplies have gone down from almost 3K a year to $600 so far.. my area has a LOT of pollen and dust, I also live near a lake so there is a ton of treats and leaves.

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by jbelliveau View Post
    my pool has never been so clear as it has using the test kit and tfp method and my normal pool supplies have gone down from almost 3K a year to $600 so far..
    ::faints::: I've never even spent near $600/year on pool supplies thankfully. I'm averaging about $150 year (maybe??) and much of that is testing reagent refills I reckon. Love my SWG more today after reading this figure. Of course it cost $1400 extra when we built our pool but the convenience is worth every penny to me.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    ::faints::: I've never even spent near $600/year on pool supplies thankfully. I'm averaging about $150 year (maybe??) and much of that is testing reagent refills I reckon. Love my SWG more today after reading this figure. Of course it cost $1400 extra when we built our pool but the convenience is worth every penny to me.
    I live near a lake, we get so much pollen and leaves from the tree's the chlorine is ridiculously fast to go , even if we jack up the cya. Plus all the bags of shock we used to have to buy... thankfully no longer. Bleach and liquid chlorine seem to work much better.

    - - - Updated - - -

    not to mention about 30 people constantly swimming through out the week. I also have a large extended family.
    31000 gallon in ground vinyl
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Looks like they've got you coverted, so I'll just say, Welcome!
    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: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Ok I went to the pool store and had the water tested. I'll order the k-2006 on amazon. Doesn't qualify for PRIME, but should get here within a week probably. Here are results from the pool store test. (I did not buy anything, though they seemed friendly and wanted me to purchase 25lbs of calcium stuff for $60)

    FC 3.61
    TC 4.29
    pH 7.1
    TA 73
    CH 31
    CYA 162
    Copper 0.6
    Iron 0.1
    Salt 3100
    Saturation Index -0.8
    Endure 0

    Hope that helps! I'm thinking we need to stop using the dichlor for chlorine since the CYA is so high. Any other suggestions?? Thank you in advance!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Pfeifer6 View Post
    Ok I went to the pool store and had the water tested. I'll order the k-2006 on amazon. Doesn't qualify for PRIME, but should get here within a week probably. Here are results from the pool store test. (I did not buy anything, though they seemed friendly and wanted me to purchase 25lbs of calcium stuff for $60)

    FC 3.61
    TC 4.29
    pH 7.1
    TA 73
    CH 31
    CYA 162
    Copper 0.6
    Iron 0.1
    Salt 3100
    Saturation Index -0.8
    Endure 0

    Hope that helps! I'm thinking we need to stop using the dichlor for chlorine since the CYA is so high. Any other suggestions?? Thank you in advance!
    The TF100 is a better value and NC to VA is probably a next-day thing without having to pay next-day shipping rates. Twice as many CYA tests and FC tests. Hmmmm.
    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: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    With a working swg, you shouldn't need any dichlor or shock of any kind once you get your algae problem fixed. You will need to get your cya down to 70-80 for the swg or 30-50 if not using the swg.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    With those FC/CC numbers I sense a SLAM in your future.... hopefully after a bit of water change to bring that high CYA level down. I'm also wondering where the copper came from? Do you use well water to fill the pool, or have you added metal sequestrants before?
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    The copper is from my husband adding algaecides with copper in them, supposedly to kill mustard algae- which we had issues with last year. This year when the green algae showed up he went ahead and added some "super algaecide" which is labeled that it kills all types. It has copper in it I think.

    So, at this point I'm going to have him backwash to waste for about 10 minutes every time we backwash. And we'll get some calcium in there and quit using the dichlor. I was told not to run the SWG with the calcium being so low. Any thoughts on that? Any suggestions for alternative chlorine? I'm thinking I should keep the level a little highs since the CYA is so high. If we backwash to waste once a week and refill with fresh water, when should I test the CYA?

    Richard I will probably purchase the TF100 then, it does seem a better value...I think. (the k2006 is $20 cheaper though, so still debating)

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over SWG pool maintenance from hubby, advice needed

    Look at the amount of each reagent in each kit. That is where you will see your "value" in the TF100. It has more of the stuff you use the most. It is the same stuff just more of what is really needed.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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