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Thread: First (real) Post about our pool

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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    First (real) Post about our pool

    Hi everyone. I'm new here. My wife and I purchased a home back in February of this year and it has an in-ground pool. We had always wanted a pool in our previous house (it was on the 5-year plan) but after 14 years of kids and other priorities, it never happened. So a pool in the new-to-us house was a big deal and we are already enjoying it. I've been reading up on all the good information here and being a bit of a DIY'er, I want to give TFP a go.

    The history on the pool is that it appears to have been maintained by a local pool company for a number of years. They closed it up last fall and since we had no real practical knowledge of pool opening, we had them come out to open it up for us in mid-May. It had a solid winter cover over the pool and raised spa. When they pulled the cover off, the water was actually crystal clear (not in the spa, tho). That kinda surprised me. The pool guy gave me the history of things as he knew them, saying the previous owner was pretty much keeping the lights on, so to speak, with the equipment. He pretty much threw some chemicals in the pool and off he went. The pumps were working but the heater was not. Home warranty guy came out to service it and recommended replacement ( I asked about this in another thread) so we have a new propane heater getting put in soon.

    So I started testing the water and my first test came out looking like this:

    FC: 2
    CC: 0
    PH: 8.2
    TA: 140
    CH: 300
    CYA: >100

    So my first major concern is that CYA is off the chart. I say >100 but if I had to eyeball the reading it would likely be a guess of 150. So the first thing I did was get all of the trichlor tabs out of the pool and started buying bottles of bleach to prevent putting additional stabilizer in the pool. I know the main recommendation is going to be to do a (75%?) water change but I can't really see doing that at the moment. I have added bleach over the past few days but the numbers aren't really budging at the moment. I am sure I need to be adding more. (Acid to lower PH?) So as it stands, the pool was very swimable over the holiday weekend (I managed to get the heater we had working) but I want to start getting things under control so I am looking for some advice on how to tackle the chemistry issues and bring things in line with where they should be. I am also going to be looking to replace pumps, timer, etc. and will likely want some advice on pad layout/replumbing. Thanks in advance for the assistance. This website is a wonderful resource.

    The spa at opening:
    IMG_0140.jpg

    The pool at opening:
    IMG_0141.jpg

    Equipment Pad
    IMG_0147.jpg

    Open pool
    PoolOpen.jpg
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Congratulations on your beautiful pool and new home! You've come to the right place for assistance. I'm very new here also but after getting the test kit and following pool math and school, I have clear, clean water. Good luck and don't give up!
    13,500 gal, installed 2006, vinyl, 24' round, AG - sand filter, 1.5 hp pump, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Lower NC

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    I honestly don't see how you plan to clear it completely and maintain it with CYA that high. If you repeat the CYA test using the dilution method outlined in Extended Test Kit Directions, you may find that your CYA is closer to 180. The spacing gets very close together as the numbers increase. If CYA =180, minimum FC is 14!! Which means two things: 1) You'll always have to test the chlorine using the FAS-DPD tester and 2) Your pH test will always be suspect.

    You might be surprised to find out that the water isn't s expensive as you think. You're not in a drought like we are in California, so nobody's going to come stick a restrictor on your meter and charge you to do it, nor gouge you on the rates.

    Let's say you work it out and decide you want to replace 80% of the water. That's 20,000 gallons. 2.67 Mcf. Now check the rates... If you're actually IN the City of Philadelphia, the highest tier is $37.12; probably you'll be in a lower tier for the actual refill. But worst case, $99. That's it. Less than a hundred bucks. That's 1/3 of what most disgusted people here have had taken from them by the pool store in one trip! Odds are, if the sewer charges are based on water usage, you can have that reduced by calling them ahead of time and telling them it's for filling a swimming pool.

    What if you have the pool suddenly turn green? Try to SLAM at CYA 120. The first dose to get you to 47 will take 9 jugs of Chlorox. That's about 27 bucks. And then more and more and more, not to metion refills for the FAS-DPS test. It's something to think about.
    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: First (real) Post about our pool

    I know the main recommendation is going to be to do a (75%?) water change but I can't really see doing that at the moment.
    The very real downside to that is you should be keeping your FC around12 ppm at all times and, if you ever need to SLAM, probably 50 ppm FC.

    Simply put, the FC/CYA chart in Pool School doesn't go above 100 CYA because we think it is unmanageable.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Well, Since I would rather have the pool at the levels it should be at, rather than dumping in tons more chlorine than I need to be. I am checking with a local fire company that does swimming pool fills as a side service. My main concern is what to do with all the water I have to drain out and how I do that. I am guessing I can just pump the water out through the backwash and into the sewer drain but I need to look into any kind of limits there might be. We have public sewer hookup. The interesting thing is that the equipment pad has a Separation tank for backwashing of the DE filter, but the pipes were completely cut (maybe can see in the pic I posted). The pool guy said to backwash I can just run the coiled up blue hose out into the yard and backwash. We have a well for water nearby on the property. Which leads me to another question. What if I were to do a weekly backwash of say, 1000 gallons (or some other random amount) and then refill the pool from the well water. I'm sure this probably has it's own pitfalls, but if I run the backwashing hoses off to some other corner of my yard (4+ acres) and pump the water out, it will soak into the ground, replenish my well and then I can just repeat this until CYA comes down to where I want. Thoughts on this?

    One more thing...if we do drain the pool and refill, what other maintenance items should be addressed while the pool is empty?
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilTwin View Post
    Well, Since I would rather have the pool at the levels it should be at, rather than dumping in tons more chlorine than I need to be. I am checking with a local fire company that does swimming pool fills as a side service. My main concern is what to do with all the water I have to drain out and how I do that. I am guessing I can just pump the water out through the backwash and into the sewer drain but I need to look into any kind of limits there might be. We have public sewer hookup. The interesting thing is that the equipment pad has a Separation tank for backwashing of the DE filter, but the pipes were completely cut (maybe can see in the pic I posted). The pool guy said to backwash I can just run the coiled up blue hose out into the yard and backwash. We have a well for water nearby on the property. Which leads me to another question. What if I were to do a weekly backwash of say, 1000 gallons (or some other random amount) and then refill the pool from the well water. I'm sure this probably has it's own pitfalls, but if I run the backwashing hoses off to some other corner of my yard (4+ acres) and pump the water out, it will soak into the ground, replenish my well and then I can just repeat this until CYA comes down to where I want. Thoughts on this?

    One more thing...if we do drain the pool and refill, what other maintenance items should be addressed while the pool is empty?
    I took over my pool with a CYA of 220-240. With the dilution, it's hard to be more accurate than that. But my water was clear at the time, so I did maintain it with super high FC and used pool water on the lawn and slowly brought it down over time. So it can be done. It's not easy and I don't recommend it, but I had no choice due to restrictions. So what you propose is possible. But starting with some algae.... it's going to be really really hard to get it clear.

    The first thing to know is your actual CYA level. To get from 120 to something manageable is a whole lot easier than going from 180 or 200 to something manageable. You won't need to drain the whole pool to do either.

    By the way, I use cellulose instead of DE in my filter. It's just highly refined sawdust, and it will break down in time if you spread it all over the ground, unlike DE.
    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: First (real) Post about our pool

    I'm not sure I see the problem with draining the pool onto your lot out back. It looks like it is lower than the pool area. Which direction does the rainwater drain during downpours from your backyard? If you got a rainfall of a couple of inches, that would be similar to draining your whole pool onto that area out back. You could just drain a third a couple of times (depending on your is/should be for CYA). Remember that draining 30% then another 30% does not equal a 60% reduction in CYA. They would represent a 30% reduction then 21%, then 15% and so on, decreasing by 30% each time. The more you can do the first time the quicker the process will be, that's when you are draining the water with the highest level of CYA.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Well, it's worse than I thought. Did a dilution method CYA test and it comes in around 190. I am waiting on a callback from the local fire company that does the pool fills. Their website indicates they have a 6000 gallon tanker so I am guessing 3 trips. Now to figure out where to pump all the bad water to.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Update:

    Did a water change of about 4000 gallons. I ended up just pumping out with a sump pump that I have. Then did a refill from two hoses coming from the well water. After that, my CYA was down to 160. So I'm getting there. The biggest surprise I got out of that was that the flow rate on my well seems to be very good. I was a little leery about running 3-4 thousand gallons out of the well at once. Didn't seem to be a problem. Best part is, the water I pumped out of the pool drained straight to ground and will ultimately replenish the well, minus whatever the ground filters out which hopefully will include the CYA. I am running higher chlorine levels for the time being as we have a party this weekend and will be using the pool. Once that is done I will figure on doing a few more partial water changes until the CYA is where it should be.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    We swam for a year with cya numbers in the 300s. But once we got the cya down to 50 we never had an algae problem again using bleach and now a swg.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Quote Originally Posted by timerguy View Post
    We swam for a year with cya numbers in the 300s. But once we got the cya down to 50 we never had an algae problem again using bleach and now a swg.
    How often were you adding chlorine and what were your regular chlorine levels like? I am finding that for the moment I am adding a lot of chlorine daily. This morning, the water appears a little hazier. I am really just trying to stay ahead of it until this weekend is over and plan to continue water changes next week.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Did another partial water change the other night. Here's the new numbers:

    CYA 120
    PH 7.7
    FC 9.5
    CC 0.5
    TA 140
    CH 260

    Water is staying clear. I still find myself putting a lot of chlorine in each day, so I see how it can get to be expensive to keep the pool clear with such high CYA and FC levels. After the party this weekend I'll be doing a few more water changes to get the CYA down to 40. I am going to have 20+ 12 year olds in my pool tomorrow. Should be interesting. My wife thought I was crazy at first with all the chlorine buying. I think I am winning her over.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilTwin View Post
    Update:

    Did a water change of about 4000 gallons. I ended up just pumping out with a sump pump that I have. Then did a refill from two hoses coming from the well water. After that, my CYA was down to 160. So I'm getting there. The biggest surprise I got out of that was that the flow rate on my well seems to be very good. I was a little leery about running 3-4 thousand gallons out of the well at once. Didn't seem to be a problem. Best part is, the water I pumped out of the pool drained straight to ground and will ultimately replenish the well, minus whatever the ground filters out which hopefully will include the CYA. I am running higher chlorine levels for the time being as we have a party this weekend and will be using the pool. Once that is done I will figure on doing a few more partial water changes until the CYA is where it should be.
    Yes, the ground will filter out the CYA, soil bacteria will convert the CYA to ammonia, which will then be converted to nitrates by other soil bacteria, and so on. Nature's recycling system. I actually set up my turtle aquarium to take advantage of this nitrogen cycle, using a huge filter for the bacteria to colonize, I have managed to keep my 75 gallon tank clean with no maintenance for 3 years now. (I haven't even cleaned the filter yet)
    8638 gallon 20'x52" Intex ultra frame round AG. 2650 gph Intex Sand Filter. Intex krystal Klear SWG. (newer model that includes copper ion generation) Hayward 1091LX skimmer, Kreepy Krauly lil shark. Taylor K-2006 w/speed stir and sample sizer. New this year, Intex PureSpa - dichlor-> bleach method for sanitizing.
    New pool, 16'x36' (approx 18000 gal) in ground pool, Haywood DE filter

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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Quote Originally Posted by PridgNYC View Post
    Yes, the ground will filter out the CYA, soil bacteria will convert the CYA to ammonia, which will then be converted to nitrates by other soil bacteria, and so on. Nature's recycling system. I actually set up my turtle aquarium to take advantage of this nitrogen cycle, using a huge filter for the bacteria to colonize, I have managed to keep my 75 gallon tank clean with no maintenance for 3 years now. (I haven't even cleaned the filter yet)
    I used to keep an 80 gallon salt water fish tank with corals and a live rock filter, so I am used to the whole natural filtration cycle and understand the issues with water chemistry balance. I never thought that a swimming pool would be a similar situation (minus the live rock, of course) until I came here. Glad I did.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Well, a few weeks and several partial water drains and refills later, here are today's numbers:

    CYA: 60 - YAY!
    pH: 7.5
    TA: 120
    CH: 180
    FC: 6.5
    CC: 0.5
    TC: 7.0

    Looks like I need to add some MA to lower pH which should also bring TA down. Overflow from the spa seems to aerate plenty and will keep bring ph back up. Need to add some calcium to get TC back up a little. Pool looks really sparkly today!
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilTwin View Post
    Well, a few weeks and several partial water drains and refills later, here are today's numbers:

    CYA: 60 - YAY!
    pH: 7.5
    TA: 120
    CH: 180
    FC: 6.5
    CC: 0.5
    TC: 7.0

    Looks like I need to add some MA to lower pH which should also bring TA down. Overflow from the spa seems to aerate plenty and will keep bring ph back up. Need to add some calcium to get TC back up a little. Pool looks really sparkly today!
    Quit obsessing and go swimming!

    The pH is good. Hit it with acid when pH gets to 7.8. There's nothing wrong with the TA. It'll come down with time.
    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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    EvilTwin's Avatar
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    Re: First (real) Post about our pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Quit obsessing and go swimming!
    LOL! We have been swimming. A LOT! Thanks for the help.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    25000 (?) gallon Plaster IG roman-end pool (18x36, give or take, 8 ft deep end), 7 ft round spa-spillover to pool
    Nautilis FNS-48 DE Filter, disconnected separation tank
    1.5HP single speed main pump. 3/4 HP pressure-side cleaner pump.

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