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Thread: New pool owner - overwhelmed

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    New pool owner - overwhelmed

    I've been reading through the pool school and posts and have seen lots of posts about people buying houses with pools. I am another and am feeling completely overwhelmed and confused after reading, probably too many posts. This is likely a simple problem, but my super human strength is the ability to over analyze everything and make it more complicated than it is.

    We moved in a week ago. The previous owners opened it and left us instructions on opening and closing and how to vacuum. Their maintenance schedule was "put 3-5 tiny pucks in the floaty basket [sic] and a scoop of chlorine in the pool every 3-5 days". The pucks are almost gone (I don't even know what they are, since the bucket isn't present) and the bottle of chlorine is granules (calcium hypochlorite 47%).

    I haven't had any luck finding one of those test kits that ship to Canada (that I can afford right now), so in the meantime, we've had to settle for one of the cheapie tests. Over the week we've lived here, we've had major downpours and now it appears my pool chemistry is out of whack. I know the test kit isn't what is recommended for accurate testing but its all I have and it is telling me my chlorine is essentially non readable and my pH is down below 7.

    I'm suffering from information overload, feeling quite stupid that all my reading has made no impact and am completely overwhelmed about where to start. All of the pool math and other chemistry links require information I don't have and can't get right now because I can't afford a test kit in Canada. The longer I leave it, the worse off it will be since we are forcasted for more rain over the next week.

    Where should I start?
    15x30 vinyl IG Pool
    Hayward Vari-FLow XL Sand filter
    Jandy Pro Series FLOPRO by Zodiac (1 hp I think)
    Some sort of natural gas heater
    Installed in the mid-late 70s

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    For my first month or so of ownership (bought a house with a pool) I felt like I was drinking from a firehose. Got poolstored a little (pucks & shock) then discovered there was another way to care for a pool.

    Check out THIS THREADfrom a fellow Canadian who was able to get the K2006 shipped from E-Bay.

    Good luck
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Thank you Tim, I've ordered a test from E-Bay... now I wait the 7-13 business days for it to arrive.

    Just need to figure out what to do in the meantime...
    15x30 vinyl IG Pool
    Hayward Vari-FLow XL Sand filter
    Jandy Pro Series FLOPRO by Zodiac (1 hp I think)
    Some sort of natural gas heater
    Installed in the mid-late 70s

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Ok, let us ask, what resources do you have, what sort of test kit are you using, and what are the results?

    From what you have already told us I think I can tell you our suggestion will be to add chlorine to the pool to keep it from turning green, you will want to use liquid chlorine / regular bleach for this. Also to raise your pH back into the right range, for this you can use either Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (NOT DETERGENT) or 20Mule Team Borax (the is chemically identical to what the pool stores sell as pH up at a fraction of the price)
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Welcome!

    What test kit do you have? Does it just read pH and chlorine, or does it do other tests? Tell us what you got, and we'll all try to muddle through until you get something better to keep that pool from going green and swampy on you.

    The pH reading is not too alarming. Did the water get plenty of time to mix after the rain? That can give false readings. If it's still low after mixing, a little borax or washing soda or if they left behind any "pH plus" or whatever that will fix you up.

    The chlorine will go down every day, which is why they fed it the little pucks. I'd hesitate to add any more since you're working blind as far as CYA goes. In the meantime, plain household bleach will add FC with no unwanted side-effects.
    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: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    I ordered the K-2006 from E-Bay this afternoon.
    I currently have a simple Chlorine and pH test with the yellow and red drops added to two vials.

    I'll try the borax or washing soda (I have both from making laundry detergent) and chlorine bleach and see what my kit reads after mixing.

    There might be some bits of pucks in the basket. Should I take those out if I'm adding bleach?
    15x30 vinyl IG Pool
    Hayward Vari-FLow XL Sand filter
    Jandy Pro Series FLOPRO by Zodiac (1 hp I think)
    Some sort of natural gas heater
    Installed in the mid-late 70s

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    No, the pucks are fine where they are. just don't pour bleach onto the floater.

    Do you know how to use poolmath? Instructions are here.

    How to add each chemical is here

    Not knowing the pH or the CYA level, there's a certain amount of guesswork involved here. I'd target 5 on the FC and plug 70 in as your TA and add the pH increaser in half doses targeting 7.5 until pH gets right. Work up to it slowly. And if by chance you end between 7.2 to 7.8 on the first go-round, stop wherever you are.
    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: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Begin your Pool Book. Record everything you put into the pool and why.

    Also add notes about your equipment for later reference.

    Also add notes from the forum that appear to be important for your pool as well as general info. Sometimes searching for that info later is too hard. Organizing this will help you digest the info.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    I got my K-2006 test kit today (thank you SO MUCH for the link!!). I have my first batch of test results hot off the press.

    FC - 4
    CC - 1
    pH - reading below 7 and the base demand test took 7 drops to reach 7.2
    TA - 40
    CH - 400
    CYA - just below the line 110

    The temperature of the pool is still quite cold. Apparently summer missed Winnipeg.

    According to pool math, I need 7 kg of baking soda, 1 kg of washing soda (or 2 kg of borax) and need to replace 27% of my water.

    Am I dense or does that sound plausable...

    Which one do you tackle first? Replacing the water so you aren't treating waste? 27% water change seems a little high to me, but then again...
    15x30 vinyl IG Pool
    Hayward Vari-FLow XL Sand filter
    Jandy Pro Series FLOPRO by Zodiac (1 hp I think)
    Some sort of natural gas heater
    Installed in the mid-late 70s

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    This is assuming you are going to switch from pucks and start using the TFPC method preached on this site.

    Your CYA is high, dumping the water and refilling I believe is your first action step. For an outdoor pool your CYA should be between 30-50, you can use more bleach to account for the higher CYA (based on pool math and this chart), but I can imagine that will start to add up fast. According to Pool Math, if your CYA is 110 and you want to bring it down to 40 for example, you will need to replace 67% of the water. Just make sure if you do this, leave at least 1 foot of water from the bottom so your liner doesn't get messed up.

    I would start with this, then re-test and see how your numbers look....and start normalizing them through the correct processes.
    ~21,000 gal, IG Vinyl w/Liner, Hayward Pro-Grid DE2420 DE filter, Built: ~2002, manual vacuum, K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    First, get a better reading of your CYA. Dilute it 50% with chlorine-free water (typically distilled water) and re-test your CYA - 100 is the upper end of readability and lines are too close to each other above that.
    Second, once you get a ballpark on your CYA, drain and refill so that you aren't draining your hard work away.

    I'm not too sure about order with regards TA/pH, someone else would be able to give better advise.

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    TA is the last to worry about. Take care of it when you get boored and want to play with your junior mad scientist kit.
    12000 Gallon IG Plaster built 2/15/2014. Jandy 340 sg ft 127 gpm filter, Jandy 1 HP stealth pump. Circupool RJ-45 SWG (overkill). TF-100 with Speed Stir.

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail K View Post
    First, get a better reading of your CYA. Dilute it 50% with chlorine-free water (typically distilled water) and re-test your CYA - 100 is the upper end of readability and lines are too close to each other above that.
    Second, once you get a ballpark on your CYA, drain and refill so that you aren't draining your hard work away.

    I'm not too sure about order with regards TA/pH, someone else would be able to give better advise.
    This is EXACTLY what you need to do first.
    Rick
    Installed June 2012 Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Repeated CYA with new water and it read 50.

    15x30 vinyl IG Pool
    Hayward Vari-FLow XL Sand filter
    Jandy Pro Series FLOPRO by Zodiac (1 hp I think)
    Some sort of natural gas heater
    Installed in the mid-late 70s

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    "New water" - have you replaced the water in your pool already? Or did you just re-test what's in there?

    Was that 50CYA a diluted reading or not?
    If it's diluted in half, then your ballpark CYA is 100 (50*2). If it's diluted to a quarter, then your ballpark CYA is 200 (50*4).
    If it's not diluted, and you haven't done a water replacement, the numbers don't really make sense because you can't get from ~100CYA to 50CYA without water replacement.

    - - - Updated - - -

    See Extended test kit directions, post #8, step 9 if you're unsure of the procedure.

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Malaika .. Welcome to the forum. It can be overwhelming at first but you need to keep breathing, testing your water and posting questions. In short order your mind and pool will be clear.
    The chemistry is strange at first but in a week or two of testing and talking about it and having the resources here it will start to make easy sense. There pretty much isn't anything you can do that hasn't been done before and fixed.

    We need to figure out the CYA reading 110 vs 50 first. Draining water is the only way to lower CYA level. It doesn't make sense to pay for chemicals to treat the water if you're going to need to drain off 25-30% to get a proper CYA level. Then getting pH close before you start to SLAM and then SLAM !!

    We are here for ya, keep breathing !!
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
    Solar Blanket, Well Water, Borax Added, TF-100 tester. ? too cold
    1979, 275gal Conway Emerald Spa P-100-2, ES-2 Spa Pack, bromine floater, indoor
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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    My apologies. I should have been clearer in my post (trying to post quickly with a dying phone battery). I re-did the test with half pool water and half chlorine free water as suggested and the reading was between 40-50 but much closer to the 50 line.

    I have not drained/added water yet. That is earmarked for first thing tomorrow morning after vacuuming.

    The pool is perfectly clear. No cloudiness and no algae anywhere that I can tell (thank goodness for small mercies).

    Thanks.
    15x30 vinyl IG Pool
    Hayward Vari-FLow XL Sand filter
    Jandy Pro Series FLOPRO by Zodiac (1 hp I think)
    Some sort of natural gas heater
    Installed in the mid-late 70s

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Well that makes perfect sense then and you are indeed around 100/110 CYA. Vacuum to waste in the morning and kill two birds with one stone !!
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
    Solar Blanket, Well Water, Borax Added, TF-100 tester. ? too cold
    1979, 275gal Conway Emerald Spa P-100-2, ES-2 Spa Pack, bromine floater, indoor
    TF-100, Best test kit - TFTestkits.net
    Please help keep the lights on, become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    You need to start with the two most basic things you already know are off. Chlorine and ph. If PH is off, then the pool won't hold the chlorine. If they left you the granular chlorine shock, you are supposed to dissolve it in a bucket of water. You will find liquid is better and is available in most parts. Even Walmart, Target and Walgreens sell liquid shock. Get your chlorine up. The pucks that go in the basket are also required and readily available at your pool stores. Then get the PH up product available in a pool store and read the directions on it. Wait a day, test, repeat, get your water checked. It's probably close to being in range.

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    Re: New pool owner - overwhelmed

    Dear jnine, welcome to the forum. http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...efore-you-post I know it's your first post but it's kind of "Pool Store" info and that's not what this site is about. It isn't how "we" do it here. The CYA is already through the roof and using the "pucks" only adds more CYA. If we are needing to dump water to get CYA in an acceptable range the last thing we want is for Malaika to put the chlorine tablets back into the pool, leave them in the bucket in the garage. That's the best place for them. Should the CYA drop from a lot of backwashing then and only then might it be advisable to toss the chlorine tablets in. Otherwise the CYA goes up, the need for bleach goes up only due to too much CYA and it ends up costing the owner more in bleach to maintain the same sanitation level. See the chart : http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...art-slam-shock

    PH up is overpriced and what is recommended here is to use washing soda found easily at places like Walmart, Target, Fleetfarm ... . Works just as well, keeps the pool just as clean, less expensive and in Pool Math it will tell you exactly how much to add to get from X to Y. http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html pH can be tested 30 minutes after making an adjustment (pump running).
    And yes it's washing soda, NOT baking soda.

    BUT ... if you really wanted to use "pH up", "pH increaser", "pH plus" or whatever brand name you can also get it in the pool isle at Walmart, Target, Fleetfarm ... in a brand like HTH for less than the pool store and again save some $$$.
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    Last edited by Kiss4aFrog; 06-21-2014 at 09:20 AM. Reason: spelling, missing words
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
    Solar Blanket, Well Water, Borax Added, TF-100 tester. ? too cold
    1979, 275gal Conway Emerald Spa P-100-2, ES-2 Spa Pack, bromine floater, indoor
    TF-100, Best test kit - TFTestkits.net
    Please help keep the lights on, become a TFP Supporter!

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