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Thread: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

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    Unhappy All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    Hi Guys,

    Firstly, let me say this has been a great forum for learning over the last year - I've tried my best to read up on other threads and answer my problems without posting, but after 1 year of pool ownership, I.need.help.

    I have quite a few questions so please bear with me, and if my terminology is wrong, again please correct me.

    Firstly the setup -

    Location - North Texas (DFW)

    Pool size - I believe i have a approximately a 20,000 - 22,000 gallon pool.

    Pool filter - Undetermined - Appears to be Pentair Triton II series but i can't determine the size as all markings and stickers are worn off. On my filter, the closure on the top is distinctly different from all the examples of the 40-50-60 models i can find. Rather than having a hexagonal look, it has slots in it which are used to twist it open using the tool. I can only find that on triton TR100C, TR140C and TR C-3 pool filters. Any ideas? here's mine (excuse the mess)



    Pump - Appears to be a Hayward patent number 299143 with 2.4 HP.

    Cleaner - Polaris 360.

    So here's the state of play!

    I've been having some fairly major problems with keeping the water clear and also keeping the algae at bay. Last summer I had a few outbreaks but managed to get them under control and eventually cleared up to sparkling water. This year, its been a weekly battle just keeping it even remotely swimmable.



    So, i've been seriously shocking my pool once a week with Leslies powder plus, its having a minimal effect. I also used their Algecide which killed quite a bit, but the algae was quickly back. After leaving the chlorine levels to come back down to a reasonable state, i take my water to Leslies to test. My pool is turning green as i write this and the water is pretty murky - Here's yesterdays results.

    FAC - 5
    TAC - 5
    CH - 400
    CYA - 70-90 (Though he first said 90 and then backtracked from 90, to 80, to 70 when i said that was too high for effective chlorination)
    TA -120
    PH -7.6
    TDS -1300
    PHO - 100

    So, my first question is, if we assume my CYA is actually 80-90, is that way too high for my shock to be effective?

    I've been shocking with 6lbs a time of shock and its barely making a dent. The guy at leslies said my CYA level wasn't an issue, but i genuinely believe he has no idea about pool chemistry. He said as the problem has been continual, i should probably check my sand (more on that later). Needless to say I've gone through 30lbs of shock in the last 6 weeks and its clearly not helped.

    My CYA level is high, i assume because up until a month ago, i had no idea that my previous shock had stabilizer in it, nor the pucks i was just throwing in for fun at about 2-3 a week. Needless to say i've stopped using both, but i now understand that i cannot lower my CYA without a partial drain and re-fill. My main drain only appears to work as an equalizer. I drained my pool below my skimmer level last night and found that every minute or so, skimmer would fill up with water from the main drain equalizer port and then get sucked down into my pump from the port next to it. Presumably this is to keep it from burning out if there's no water going in.

    Skimmer and equalizer port:



    But.... if there's no way of directing all the water through the main drain, how do i drain my pool? Pump Sump?

    And so - Here I am, Leslies telling me week on week my chemistry looks pretty decent, and my pool looking like ****. So as much as i didn't want to, i decided to go ahead and change the sand in my filter (as much out of curiosity as anything). I opened it up to find quite a lot of debris and cotton wood on top and as it turns out, mixed in with the sand. The filter was just about half full with sand. I've emptied out as much as i can, but i'm stuck with some wet sand at the bottom and no apparent way to get it out. Both the drain plug and union valves have been sealed in place.

    The laterals look ok, but i can't get them out to inspect them because i cant remove any of the pipes without cutting. I really really dont want to start cutting things.

    Next question - If i can't get every last bit of sand from my filter, can i re-fill on top, or does that negate the whole point of cleaning it out? Here's where i am :



    Next question - If we can't determine exactly what model number my filter is, is there a safe zone for how much sand to put in generally speaking? Am i right in thinking half to 2/3s is about right?


    Thats about all i have for now, as it stands i'm hating my pool and spending more time and energy on it that I do on my job which is ridiculous. Not to mention the money. Any help on any of these questions or just general info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

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    svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    Welcome.

    I know you asked a lot of questions, but the main issue is:
    Quote Originally Posted by greygooser View Post
    ...i take my water to Leslies to test...

    You need to take control of your pool and stop trusting pool store testing and advice.


    You should already know this since you said:
    Quote Originally Posted by greygooser View Post
    Here I am, Leslies telling me week on week my chemistry looks pretty decent, and my pool looking like ****.



    Quote Originally Posted by greygooser View Post
    So, i've been seriously shocking my pool once a week with Leslies powder plus...
    No. You haven't been "seriously shocking." What you have been doing is briefly raising FC, which is consumed almost immediately since you have an active algae bloom. Then your FC goes back to zero, and the algae recoups.


    Quote Originally Posted by greygooser View Post
    I also used their Algecide which killed quite a bit, but the algae was quickly back.
    Algecide can slow algae from getting started, but is of absolutely no use in fighting it once it's established. In a properly sanitized pool, algecide is never needed as a part of regular maintenance (it can be useful in some rare cases).


    Step one is to order one of the recommended test kits.
    I reccomend the TF-100 with the XL option and get a Speedstir while you are at it. This will be the best $100 you ever spent on your pool.



    Then you should start reading Pool School, to get an understanding of pool chemistry:
    What is TFPC?
    ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    Basic Pool Care Schedule
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    Chlorine CYA Chart
    Recommended Levels
    PoolMath



    When your new test kit comes in, you need to SLAM Your Pool.
    This involves maintaining a shock level of FC in your pool for an extended period to knock out the algae without letting it recover.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh yea, as Richard is fond of saying, "sand is already millions of years old." It doesn't go bad. Your problem isn't your filter, it's that you aren't using enough chlorine to keep your pool properly sanitized.

    The root of this problem is infrequent, inaccurate pool store testing.

    The solution is frequent, accurate testing yourself.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    Re: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    svenpup said most of what needs to be said. You need to get a good test kit, find out your real cya level and then drain some water and refill to get the cya and CH level down. You can then do the slam process with liquid chlorine (bleach) to get things under control and then it will be easy to maintain with just liquid chlorine.
    I have a 20,000 gallon pool and have spent less than $50 on pool chemicals since opening at the end of April.
    The laterals on my filter look the same as yours, but the mechanism on top is very different. If you have a shop vac you can stick it down to suck out the remaining sand then rinse with water and do it again until it is clean, but I don't think what is remaining won't make a difference.
    IG plaster, 22,000 gallon, Jacuzzi Laser Sand filter

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    svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    Quote Originally Posted by greygooser View Post
    So, my first question is, if we assume my CYA is actually 80-90, is that way too high for my shock to be effective?
    The unfortunate answer here is that it may be much higher. As awful as pool store testing is in general, the CYA test is the one they really get wrong. Fortunately you have be shocking with Cacium Hypochlorite so maybe it is only 90. And yes, it will be very difficult to SLAM with CYA that high. Once you get an accurate measurement of CYA you will likely have to replace some water to lower CYA.

    The good news is that if you get the test kit, divorce yourself from Leslies, and follow the tenets we teach here, you will be able to cheaply maintain your water in sparkly perfection.
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    Re: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    That's a Triton for sure. And I can tell by the dome and dome wrench that it's a newer Pentair one, not the older PacFab version. I've had both. You may be able to tell which one by measuring the height and comparing to Pentair's website information.

    Be careful adding the new sand. Fill the unit halfway with water before you put any in. Only add sand up to the line where the dome starts.

    You can get the rest of the sand out with a shop vac, but you don't have to. You probably didn't even need to change the sand in the first place.

    The good news is, when you drain some to lower CYA, you'll lower your CH some too. Don't use anymore dry chlorine at all.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    All good advice give so far!

    I'll add that if your main drain is linked to your skimmer, you should still be able to drain the pool by setting the mutliport to waste even after the water level drops below the skimmers IF you have a valve (or valves) to close of the flow from the skimmers. Couldn't tell from the picture. If not, submersible pump is your best bet. Can rent one for a few days for pretty reasonable or see if a neighbor has one.

    Also, those fittings at the bottom of the skimmer can be plugged with expandable plugs or the screw in type. You could stop the flow from there to the pump using plugs and drain only from main drain.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: All the problems - CYA, Main Drain, Algae, Sand Change, Filter ID.

    Thanks for all of the advice guys.

    Test kit - I've been using the left over remnants of an old test kit from the previous owner (see pic). Am i missing something or can this only measure up to 5ppm chlorine, it seems to be a Taylor of some sort? I need something that can handle up to around 30 for my shock treatments, maybe i'm using it wrong. Thoughts?



    Since my last post i have replaced the sand (i was already half way through when i realized this was probably not the issue).

    Drained 1/2 of the pool to reduce CYA level to approximately 70. Having tested myself after suspecting Leslies were doing and awful job and you guys confirming, i could see it was well over 100. I know 70 is still high but between having no idea about the structural integrity of my pool (atleast 20 years old), feeling very guilty about using all that water and the fact i have direct Texas sun on my pool for 7 hours a day, 70 seemed ok. I'll also be losing a bit more through backwash during the cleanup process which will lower it a little more.

    I Began shocking the pool approximately 72 hours ago. I first raised the pool to about 28ppm based on the cya/chlorine chart and pool calculator. 8 gallons of 8.25 walmart bleach. I then re-applied 4 more gallons before bed. By the next day i was out of bleach so in went the rest of my cal hypo, 6lb of that. Last night another 5 gallons of bleach just to finish off the job. The process has not been as scientific as i would have liked due to my perceived inability to measure the high CC levels, but i figured that more is better in this instance and it seems to have worked.

    The pool has gone from a medium green to aqua marine blue in 3 days and now we seem to be on the dead algae clear up job. My pre pic of the pool in my first post does not reflect the true state of the algae when I began. 2 days of growth had occurred between that pic and the time i started shocking and it was looking pretty nasty.

    Here is where we are at now. Water is somewhat cloudy - hopefully my filter is going to sort that out as i'm running it 24/7. Any suggestions on speeding beyond the DE trick this up or is it simply time?

    24,000
    In Ground Plaster
    Sand Filter - Pentair Triton
    Pool Age - No Idea, atleast 20 years old.

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