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Thread: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

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    Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    I am the mother of 6 and we decided to save a little money this summer and get an Intex AG pool rather than pay for local pool membership..... long story short, we put the pool up a week ago and I'm ready to cry or pull my hair out, or both. The kids were able to swim for the first few days, then it got what looked like some algae here and there on the bottom (spots of greenish brownish stuff sitting on the bottom). I shocked it and added algaecide and have spent days trying to get the chemical levels right and the water cleared up. It's very cloudy. Unfortunately, I didn't find this site before spending a bunch of money on Aqua Chem testers and products. I've never owned a pool and don't have many friends that do, so I bought the stuff they were selling right next to the pools at the local department store..... I use the 6-way strips everyday and they tell me to add this and add that and the levels never get right and the water is so cloudy. I can't afford to keep this up. My kids are so disappointed because I won't let them in it and I'm about ready to throw in the towel. Literally. I don't mind testing each day and throwing a little something in and changing the filter cartridges, but I want clear water and to be able to let them swim! Six kids means I don't have time to spend hours a day trying to figure this out and fix it. Can anyone help me? Before I lose my sanity?

    My Pool Chemistry
    FC 2
    pH 7.8
    TA 150
    CH 100
    CYA 50

    These are ish numbers based on the 6-way test strips.....
    4440gal Intex AG Vinyl Krystal Clear Model 637R Cartridge filter pump 1000gph 6/24/14

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is get a good test kit! I have an intex pool too and it's really simple, once you get the hang of it.

    It can be fixed and it can be easily maintained in minutes a day.

    I'm replying from my phone right now and it's pretty late so I'm not going to get too detailed (yet) but I wanted to get this out there so you know we can help!

    On the top right of the page there should be a link for "pool school". There's an article in there called "the abcs of pool chemistry".

    It's a great place to start to get an idea of what is what with pool chemicals and what they do.

    Unfortunately test strips are pretty inaccurate plus they give large ranges in their results when more specific numbers are needed.

    We have a couple of recommended kits that pretty much everyone here uses. The main top recommendation is the tf-100 from tftestkits.net. The other is the Taylor k-2006.

    Both have the tests you need to take control of that water and make your life much simpler!

    No hair pulling necessary.

    Don't be discouraged and don't give up! We can help. I'll reply again in the morning. I'm off till Monday!
    I'm sure you'll get more replies before I get to my computer but I wanted to be the first to say welcome!

    Quick thing to point out is, if the strips are anywhere near correct your fc is too low for your cya level.

    If you can. .. it would help if you can remember what products you've added so far and the size of the pool. (How many gallons) we might be able to figure out a ball park for your cya to help you get to a more effective fc level until you get a kit with the ability to accurately test it.


    More from me in the a.m. But I know I won't be alone in replying!
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.0 HP pump
    Hayward Pro Series S166T Sand Filter
    Original Intex Floating Skimmer

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    Re: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    Thank you for trying to help me! I really appreciate it. I found this site out of sear desperation. I ordered a Taylor K2006 test kit last night after reading the section on test kits. But it might not be here until mid-week next week. I hope that doesn't mean I have to wait until then to start getting my pool in order! I retested my chemicals this morning using whst I have and the new readings after using a bag of shock last night are:

    FC 10 ish (that's as high as the number goes on the test strip but I guess it could be higher)
    pH 7.8
    TA 180
    CH 100
    CYA 70 ish (the color appeared to be between the 50 and 80 colors)

    There does not appear to be any algae, but the water is still pretty cloudy. Not like "can't see the bottom" cloudy, but cloudy. I understand now why I need a better testing kit, but what can I do now to make it so my kids can swim? Anything?
    4440gal Intex AG Vinyl Krystal Clear Model 637R Cartridge filter pump 1000gph 6/24/14

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    Re: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    I retested my chemicals this morning using whst I have and the new readings after using a bag of shock last night...
    Stop using the shock if possible...the shock is very likely dichlor (it will say that on the bag or in the active ingredients) and so it is raising the CYA level...yours is actually at a decent number of 70ish now but you don't want it to keep going up.

    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    FC 10 ish (that's as high as the number goes on the test strip but I guess it could be higher)
    pH 7.8
    TA 180
    CH 100
    CYA 70 ish (the color appeared to be between the 50 and 80 colors)

    There does not appear to be any algae, but the water is still pretty cloudy. Not like "can't see the bottom" cloudy, but cloudy. I understand now why I need a better testing kit, but what can I do now to make it so my kids can swim? Anything?
    If those are your numbers, it is probably safe to swim...the test strips aren't perfect, but it's probably not catastrophically wrong in this case either. Your FC is 10+ because of the bag of shock you used last night...I assume you put a reasonable amount based on the size of your pool. The fact that the FC is still high is a good thing because it means there wasn't tons of bad stuff in the water using up the chlorine.

    With those numbers, you could safely swim...but your PH is kinda high as is the TA... PH tests tend to get pretty wonky though with higher chlorine levels which you have...so I wouldn't even worry about trying to bring that down until you get your good test kit. I would just put in 2 cups of regular bleach every day starting tomorrow to keep the chlorine up...stop using the "stabilized" chlorine stuff you probably already have. Read the Pool School section about recommended chemicals for info about the bleach and which ones to get. Once you get the good test kit, we can start being more precise about what needs to happen.
    40x20 IG gunite (~36K gallon). 6' attached spa with spillover. AquaLink RS OneTouch + SpaLink + iAquaLink 2.0
    450 sqft Sta-Rite cartridge filter, Sta-Rite single speed pumps (main, spa jets, booster)
    Coverstar Auto Cover, Polaris 280 cleaner, Taylor K-2006

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    Don't add any more shock. It's most likely dichlor and adding CYA to the pool along with the chlorine. The higher the CYA the more chlorine you need and CYA doesn't go away unless you drain water and add fresh water. It can be a vicious cycle when using solid forms of chlorine.

    In reading around the forum last night you probably have seen that we pretty much almost exclusively use liquid chlorine aka bleach to chlorinate around here. That's because the liquid chlorine only adds chlorine (and a negligible amount of salt) whereas solid forms of chlorine (powders and tablets) will also add either calcium or cya both of which continue to build up unless you replace water.

    Did you read the ABC's article yet? There is also a chart to show what level FC you need based on your CYA level. http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...art-slam-shock

    The problem right now is that you don't know that level for sure because strips are pretty bad at measuring it!

    Can you remember exactly how many bags of shock you've added since you filled the pool?

    The Pool Math calculator http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html has a section at the bottom of it where you can enter an amount of a chemical and it will tell you what it added to your pool.

    The only way to get CYA (stabilizer/conditioner/cyanuric acid) in the water is by adding it so since you haven't had the pool going that long we might be able to add up what you've added and figure out how much CYA you have in there. Then we'd know how much FC is safe to maintain until your kit arrives.

    I'm so glad you ordered a kit! A lot of people put it off and waste a lot of money in the mean time trying to fix something without really being able to tell what is wrong!

    The cloudiness is almost definitely being caused by having your FC too low for your current CYA. It's an algae bloom waiting to happen. Let's see if we can figure out that CYA and get your FC up so we can hold onto your blue water until your kit arrives.

    Since your water is cloudy and you've had algae, once your kit comes you will need to go through the SLAM process http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...tain-shockingl

    SLAM stands for Shock Level And Maintain. It will get rid of anything growing in there and get you to sparkly clear water and you'll have no problem maintaining once that's taken care of!

    Ok, I know I just hit you with a whole bunch of information. It's overwhelming at first because it's all new. Keep reading around the forum and you can ask as many questions as you want right here. It's free! We do it because we like helping and teaching people how to maintain their pools and we've almost all been in your shoes at some point! (Last year before I found this site my pool was a slimy green mess...with foam!)


    Recap.... do this asap...

    See if you can remember how many bags of shock, bottles of anything or tablets you've put in the pool since you filled it. Post here and we should be able to figure out the CYA and give a recommendation of how much bleach to put in there. (We'll use the Pool Math calculator to figure it out.)

    Get a few jugs of bleach to get started. Regular unscented bleach. It doesn't have to be Clorox brand. I use great value (Walmart store brand) and Up & Up (target store brand) most of the time because they're cheaper! Just make sure it's not "splashless" or some funky scented thing. There are other options out there for liquid chlorine but for starters it's the most simple to just grab the bleach when you're in wal-mart.


    I'm going to stop typing before this becomes an epic novel! I hope you like reading! lol
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.0 HP pump
    Hayward Pro Series S166T Sand Filter
    Original Intex Floating Skimmer

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    GreatCanadian's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    Hi zookeepter and welcome!! Don't give up on it. Yours is a common story, and you would not believe how many people have discovered this site because they followed pool store advice, ended up with a mess of a pool, searched online for a solution and BAM!! Troublefreepool.com!! Follow the advice given and you will be so happy you did, because maintaining a pool will become a simple and enjoyable job for you. It's gonna take a bit of work to get there because of your impending algae bloom. But you have the 2 most important items for a trouble free pool: a good test kit, and access to the information provided by the generous members of this site. Good luck!
    13'x22'x52" 8,000 gallon ProSeries Pool with Borates
    Intex 110 pound Sand Filter with Zeobrite, 2650 gph pump, 0.95 hp
    Bestway SWG
    AquaPro ECO500 50,000 BTU heat pump
    GLI Whirlwind Solar Cover Reel, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Frustrated First Time Pool Owner!

    Okay, Thanks for this! My testing kit still won't be in until around Friday the 11th...... says the tracking..... I have been doing exactly as you said and pouring in 2 cups of bleach every day. I skim the leaves and run the filter (which has a new cartridge in it) and otherwise let it alone. It has not changed. Still cloudy, but not worse. I've compared receipts and supplies and best as I can tell, since filling the pool I have used three 1 pound bags of the Shock XtraBlue (it has the algaecide in it) and two 1 pound bags of the regular Shock, as well as three small 1 inch chlorine tablets in the little dispenser. Oh, and at one point the AquaChem online guide told me to add Stablilzer to the tune of 1.75 pounds..... which I did. So, does that help? I've also used pH up, pH down, Alkalinity Increaser (baking soda with an Aqua Chem label), Calcium Hardner, algaecide and water clarifier....... All AquaChem brands.
    4440gal Intex AG Vinyl Krystal Clear Model 637R Cartridge filter pump 1000gph 6/24/14

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