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Thread: Noobie Pool Problems

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    Noobie Pool Problems

    Hello,

    My family moved into a new house two months ago that has an in ground pool, and I've been barely keeping problems at bay since we've moved in. I've talked to pool stores and have become skeptical of their advice, although I'd often still be too ignorant to distinguish good advice from bad advice from them. I think there may be a couple of things going on. I apologize if I am I am missing information or giving too much of the wrong information. I will do my best with what I present and try to follow up as best I can if I need to supply any supplementary information.

    Here's the scoop:

    Issues:

    Under my no doubt inept efforts (thus far), pool is as finicky as Morris the cat. Test readings seem to fluctuate a lot and I've had to run to the pool supply store some half dozen times in the past two months to take some action to avert developing cloudiness problems, and one time even a noticeable green tint that was starting to form. Even when the pool is crystal clear, there is a lot of sediment on the bottom. It is normally silt colored, and looks like large grains of sand, but on days like today, when I'm having troubles, it's cloudy, not quite there, but looks like it's on the verge of looking greenish, and has some dustier looking sediment along with the usual sand like stuff. Except for the silt, pool has been beautiful for the last three weeks until now. At the moment it looks bad enough to be worried about swimming in it and based on the readings I am at a loss.

    Readings:

    Educated from the reading I've done, I'm ordering a good test kit today, probably the TFTTestkits TF-100. All I have at home now is a cheap kit that tests only pH and chlorine. Yesterday I went to a pool store to have the water tested (store A). I must have left it on the counter, because I couldn't find it when I got home. Feeling privately sheepish, I went to a different store this morning (store B) so that I could provide readings with my post. Readings from Store A (from memory only), Store B, and my test kit from this morning do not necessarily agree, so I am posting them all:

    Chlorine (don't remember what type) Store A: 3
    FC: Store B: 5.1, Test Kit: 3, maybe a tad bit more (NB: I think it's surprising to see a higher store reading today than yesterday, since I've not added chlorine and the tablets in the floating dispenser are ready to replenish. Home test kit reading is unchanged from yesterday)
    CC: Store B: 0.7, Test Kit (calculated): 0
    pH: Store A: 7.0, Store B: 7.1, Test Kit 6.8
    TA: Store A: 40 Store B lists "Alkalinity w/ stabilizer correction" (whatever that means) at 0. (3 to 8 weeks ago, TA was always within the "normal" range of the store's chart, maybe a bit on the low end of the range).
    "Hardness" (is this the same thing as CH?): Store B: 198 ppm
    CYA: Store B: 62
    Pool Temperature: 86 deg F / 30 deg C

    NB: Store A wanted to sell me stuff, store B thought the readings looked pretty good.

    Information I've provided that may be suspect:

    I THINK the pool is vinyl. It's not rough to the touch like I would expect cement/concrete to be, it's not hard like I would expect fiberglass to be, but it is smooth and slightly spongy to the touch. if someone could confirm "yep, that's vinyl" or describe how I can figure out for sure, I would be grateful.

    What I've put in the pool:

    Chlorine, in various forms, including shocking the pool a couple of times. Got low a couple of times the first few weeks when I was even more clueless than I am now, but it has been within range at all times now for the last three weeks.
    Pool Perfect + PhosFree, one capful weekly. Alas, have I merely lined the pockets of the pool store?
    A small bag of some sort of powdered algae treatment, one time, 3 weeks ago.
    Metal Free, a capful, twice, 4 to 6 weeks ago. I'm now skeptical.
    Baking soda, 1 lb, about three weeks ago

    Hopefully Helpful Observations:

    Pressure is around 3 psi. any time the pump is running (and yes, 0 when the pump is off). This was true before I cleaned the filter, after I cleaned it, and when I tested running the pump without the filter. Changed the pressure gauge to rule out a bad one: no difference. I see no obvious tears on the filter. Also, although water is flowing into the pool from the jets, I can completely block the flow over any given jet with my hand. I have no idea what "normal" is, but I seem to remember the flow being a lot more forceful at a cousin's pool when I was a teenager. I don't know how dirty is "dirty" for a pool filter, but it was white, but not new looking before I cleaned it, and after I cleaned it it looked like a pretty new-like looking white to me, but I have only now realize that I neglected to properly clean the inside pleats, which are protected behind a screen and hard to get to. Immediately after cleaning the filter and then vacuuming was the only time I saw a moderate improvement in the sediment problem (vacuuming generally does not pick up the sediment very well). I guess I need to clean the filter again, but it was a bear to do.

    Only today, rummaging through stuff, did my wife discover that the mysterious blue thing just past the filter is a VISION Catalyst Purifier, Model VS-i. Apparently it has its own filter. It's anyone's guess how long since it's been changed and it's not obvious how to open the housing. The instructions reference a special housing wrench that's supposed to be supplied, but I doubt we have that and I can't even fathom a guess as to what it should even look like, and googling for that housing wrench, replacement filter, or even for the model and brand itself comes up dry. It appears there is a bypass around the purifier. I'm a little unsure of how to position the valve, but based on the other valves and the fact that the pump is actually pumping, it appears that the purifier is NOT being bypassed. I guess I should rotate the valve?

    Other factors:

    There was a lot of rain in July and much of August. It has finally eased up a bit. Also, in the few hours since we've been searching for paperwork, browsing for info, testing, water and writing this post, we can deny it no longer: the water is definitely starting to turn green.

    HELP! Much appreciated!
    5k gal, IG vinyl, Sta-Rite P2R (or P2RA?) series pump, 100 sq ft cartage filter, install date 1996

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Noobie Pool Problems

    Welcome to TFP !
    Good job on getting yourself a good test kit. The TF 100 is a great one and the one I use. It'll be a key tool in maintaing your pool yourself.
    You have a lot of questions in your post, so I'm going to direct you to a couple of good articles from pool school. Take the time to read them and any other articles from pool school. Read them a couple of times so the info starts to make sense. Then when you have some specific questions don't hesitate to ask.
    ABC'S Of Pool Water Chemistry
    How To Chlorinate Your Pool.
    Hope you enjoy the forum ! 😎
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Re: Noobie Pool Problems

    Welcome to the forum

    Are you sure your pool is only 5,000 gallons ??

    Do you have a spa too ??

    Is this similar to your "Vision" filter ?? - - > http://www.poolsupplymall.com/produc...Cartridge.html
    '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: Noobie Pool Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by kiss4afrog View Post
    Welcome to the forum

    Are you sure your pool is only 5,000 gallons ??

    Do you have a spa too ??

    Is this similar to your "Vision" filter ?? - - > http://www.poolsupplymall.com/produc...Cartridge.html
    I'm certain that if it's not right at 5000 gallons, it's close. It's very small as in ground pools go: something like 18 x 10 feet with a deep end of only around 5 1/2 feet.

    No spa.

    The "One Vision" cartridge sounds sort of similar to what I think this Vision Purifier is supposed to be, including the "Vision" name, that they are both "catalyst" purifiers, they both claim around 6 month filter lives, and I think the booklet even mentioned silver, though I can't find it now. But the company seems to be different "Dimension One" vs. "Fountainhead Technologies," the booklet warns to use only VCS-4 or VCS-6 model replacement cartridges, and the linked page seems to imply the cartridge is for spas, while this installation is for a small pool. And I have no idea what's inside the housing, so I don't know, maybe not, although a lot can change in nearly 20 years.
    5k gal, IG vinyl, Sta-Rite P2R (or P2RA?) series pump, 100 sq ft cartage filter, install date 1996

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    Re: Noobie Pool Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by pwrstrk View Post
    Welcome to TFP !
    Good job on getting yourself a good test kit. The TF 100 is a great one and the one I use. It'll be a key tool in maintaing your pool yourself.
    You have a lot of questions in your post, so I'm going to direct you to a couple of good articles from pool school. Take the time to read them and any other articles from pool school. Read them a couple of times so the info starts to make sense. Then when you have some specific questions don't hesitate to ask.
    ABC'S Of Pool Water Chemistry
    How To Chlorinate Your Pool.
    Hope you enjoy the forum ! ��
    Thanks, still learning! I've browsed some pool school articles and will continue to browse for more info (hadn't seen the second link before now). Hopefully that, along with what I learn reading the forums will help edgamacate me!
    5k gal, IG vinyl, Sta-Rite P2R (or P2RA?) series pump, 100 sq ft cartage filter, install date 1996

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    Re: Noobie Pool Problems

    I feel compelled to share what I've learned in case any other rank beginner with some of my problems ever happens upon this thread. I will now call myself a self-proclaimed intermediate: I spent an entire weekend plus reading and investigating and I believe I have learned a tremendous amount:

    As a preamble I have to say that a big problem (and a big lesson) was that the pool stores were AWFUL. I don't think I'm ever stopping in one again except to buy jugs of liquid chlorine at higher sodium hypochlorite concentration and more cost effective price than generic bleach, or to window shop pool accessories. Walking in, having them test my water and recommend chemicals to sell me cost a lot of unnecessary money and degraded my pool chemistry balance. Armed with a little more knowledge, I can now identify some ridiculous things they told me. I don't know whether they were ignorant or sleazy or both, and it really doesn't matter.

    1) "Under my no doubt inept efforts (thus far), pool is as finicky as Morris the cat. Test readings seem to fluctuate a lot and I've had to run to the pool supply store some half dozen times in the past two months to take some action to avert developing cloudiness problems, and one time even a noticeable green tint that was starting to form."

    There were a couple of things going on here: The first time the pool turned green, the FC went down to zero and I did not have the hang of keeping my chlorine levels to 2 - 3 PPM, even with the floating triclor dispenser and tablets the store sold me. I probably could have gotten away with initially until too much stabilizer accumulated. Don't do that. So the pool store sold me dichlor shock and they told me to dump the whole package in my 5000 gallon pool. Their chart, and recommendation, was to keep my pool chlorinated at 3 PPM. After putting all that into my pool, I don't think they even tested for CYA after my first visit, and they said nothing on the relationship between chlorine and CYA. Oh, and after I got my TF-100 test kit I learned that the CYA reading from the store was actually lower than the actual value. Well guess what, my pool would start turning green even when my chlorine never dropped below the "recommended" levels. My pH levels were apparently fluctuating because of low TH values. Once I figured all that out, I found that my pool would still turn green, even when chlorinated to the values for the recommended levels on this site, that took CYA levels into account. I believe that it is mustard algae I've been dealing with. My pool is clear now, and barring more surprises, I'm pretty confident I understand WHY it is clear. Coming up in the near future, I will treat for mustard algae. I see there is a Pool School article on that at http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...-mustard-algae. Also, any beginners with a cloudy pool that's turning green should search for the article in Pool School on SLAMming your pool. That, and do a lot of reading, and using your good sense to separate the roaches from the raisins with respect to all the contradictory pool advice out there. I was told this was easy. Well, it is and it isn't. What you really want to do is put yourself through pool-knowledge-gathering boot camp BEFORE you have to take care of a pool.

    2) "I THINK the pool is vinyl. It's not rough to the touch like I would expect cement/concrete to be, it's not hard like I would expect fiberglass to be, but it is smooth and slightly spongy to the touch."

    Yeah it's vinyl. The pool store told me that it was Plaster/Marcite. They were wrong. Although it sounded odd to me, I don't know that Plaster/Marcite pools CAN'T be "smooth and slightly spongy to the touch," but if you give that description to somebody and they tell you otherwise, don't rule out your pool being vinyl. I actually had to pay a pool guy a bunch of money to come to my house to tell me what type of pool I had, explain the inlet/outlet line valves, and tell me how to drain water out of my pool. Embarrassing how simple that stuff is. Those three things were basically all I needed to know from him. Everything else I learned from reading.

    3a) "Also, although water is flowing into the pool from the jets, I can completely block the flow over any given jet with my hand. I have no idea what "normal" is, but I seem to remember the flow being a lot more forceful at a cousin's pool when I was a teenager."

    AND

    3b) "vacuuming generally does not pick up the sediment very well"

    Yeah, so those valves? They can be positioned to return water to the pump from the skimmer, the main drain, or a combination of both. Connect your vacuum tube to the skimmer while a lot of the water is still being pumped from the main drain and your vacuum isn't going to work very well. Expensive lesson, but at least the pool guy was good for something.

    4) "I guess I need to clean the filter again, but it was a bear to do."

    The next time I went to a self serve car wash where there was actually pressure. BIG difference.

    5) "VISION Catalyst Purifier, Model VS-i"

    Uncommon, and it seems totally unnecessary. Yep. Bypass, as per above enlightenment. Issue solved.

    ===

    I still have a lot to learn, and questions, but they're less ignorant ones and more abstract: not emergency ones to save my behind from the latest green pool crisis. If I ever decide to post any they will be in another thread.
    5k gal, IG vinyl, Sta-Rite P2R (or P2RA?) series pump, 100 sq ft cartage filter, install date 1996

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    Re: Noobie Pool Problems

    Thanks for posting the updated narrative!

    ...using your good sense to separate the roaches from the raisins...
    Maybe this is an oldie, but it's new to me -- thanks for the chuckle!
    18' x 48" ring top pool (Summer Escapes); 5500 gallons; set up June - October, stored during winter; Intex 2500 gph pump (B size cartridge filter) Hayward 21" sand filter + 1.5 hp single speed Powerflo Matrix pump (upgrade October 2016) *** K-2006 test kit, refills from tftestkits

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Noobie Pool Problems

    Thanks for posting the update!!

    Sounds like you are getting your hands around pool care.
    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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