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Thread: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

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    Unhappy Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    I don't have all of the details on my signature yet as it is dark and I don't want to go outside. I am the lady of the house trying to figure this stuff all out because my husband is busy working. We have a salt water pool and it has started an algae outbreak. I'll admit we haven't been the most pro-active pool owners, but this must change and we need help as I have learned that pool stores will tell you all different things to do with the same water reading.

    So, yesterday, I did the water testing and found our salt level to be low (2200), our FC non-existent, our PH high (8), our TA high (120), and our CYA low (30). Side note: In addition to the algae, we have a ton of pollen in the pool, and dirt due to the wind and our treed lot. It has also rained a lot here in Texas.

    From reading, I thought I understood we needed to get the water in balance before starting the SLAM to kill the algae. Using the pool math calculator, we added the recommended bags of salt (6 1/2) and 1/2 the recommended CYA (we added 4 lbs when it called for 8). We also used skimmer socks and cleaned them every hour or two as well as cleaning the polaris bag every hour or two to try and clear up the dirt/pollen; and lastly we used the leaf rake to help clean as much as the debris as possible. It feels impossible.

    Our SWG had been reading low salt for the last couple of weeks and we had been adding salt. After adding the recommended bags of salt, the light finally showed good salt level, HOWEVER, when I tested the water tonight, here are the readings I got:

    Salt - 6000 (oops)
    FC - .4 ppm
    CC - .2 ppm
    PH - still 8
    TA - 200 ppm (it went up)
    CH - 150 ppm (I didn't test this yesterday, but I see from reading that this too low
    CYA - 60

    We were going to leave the pool on all night, but our pump seems to be running on low pressure and when I went outside to check it before heading off to bed, the red light was on the SWG saying flow, water wasn't flowing over the rocks from the spa to the pool even though it was registering that the pool was on. To risk any damage over night, I decided to turn it off.

    So now, I feel stuck! I don't know what to work on first tomorrow - the algae, the PH and TA, the CH, the high salt level, or the water flow problem. My husband will be at work so I'm a little limited on what I can do, but I am pretty capable and want to learn. I don't, however, want to mess anything up . The builder of our pool says we are still under warranty for a few months on some of the parts, so I want to take advantage of that as well if needed and I only have a couple of months for that. I'm tempted to just have them come out and check everything over to be sure it's working correctly, but the pool looks so bad, I"m a little embarrassed. We have talked on the phone though.

    Any advice on what to do first would be appreciated. I have been reading and learning from this site. THANK YOU!
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Welcome to TFP!

    You have to figure out the equipment first. What kind of filter do you have? It might just be very dirty from the algae and clogged up reducing flow.

    Can you run your filter on recirculate?

    You can not rely on the SWG for chlorine right now, you need to start using bleach to maintain the correct FC level.

    Once you get the pump and filter working, then lower the pH and start to SLAM.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    I do know that it is a sand filter and the brand is Pentair, it's just too dark to go outside and find any other information out about it right now.

    Forgive my lack of knowledge, but what does it mean to run the filter on recirculate?

    We did buy bleach today after reading the forums. How many gallons would you recommend putting in to start first thing in the morning?
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    You need water flow before you can start treating it. Some backwash valves can be set to recirculate which bypasses the filter ... If there is a filter problem.

    What test kit do you have?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    You can start playing with PoolMath to calculate how much bleach you have to add to reach shock level. Have you read the SLAM process?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    What test kit do you have?
    TAylor FAS-DPD

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    You can start playing with PoolMath to calculate how much bleach you have to add to reach shock level. Have you read the SLAM process?
    I have read the SLAM process and thought we were preparing to start the process, but I feel like I've just created more of a mess.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Actually before the SLAM, you probably need to figure out the salt level too. How did you get 6k? What does the SWG read? If it is really that high, you may need to replace a third of the water to lower the salt first.

    I am sure you are feeling overwhelmed, but we can help you get things straightened out
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Yes, you hit the nail on the head - overwhelmed! I used a strip tester to test the salt level, which I've since read may not be accurate. It's morning out. I will go take pictures and get accurate information on the pool equipment.

    Thank you!
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Your VERY FIRST requirement is to get your pump circulating water properly. Do you know how to backwash? That would be my first step.

    Once you get your flow issues solved, you can focus on the chemistry.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Slow and steady and you will get there!

    The only level that needs adjusting before SLAMing is the PH. Once you have the pump running you will want to lower PH to 7.2. Everything else can stay where it is for SLAMing.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Hi Po,

    Its not as bad as you think it is. Its ok to be overwhelmed, but we will take it a step at a time. The whole pool care thing is just a step by step process...

    First thing, is to make sure you can run your pump ... so we need to get that going first.

    Next Like Jblizzle said, if your salt level is really high, you may need to drain some water to get the salt level down. As you have learned about the pool stores, their testing and recommendations vary from a to z and in general cannot be trusted. However in the case of salt, it might be worth having the store test it, then compare the store test to the strips. ... Do you know how many bags of salt you put in? Do you know how many gallons your pool is? If you can tell us that, we can make an estimate of what your salt level is....

    Right now we dont need to worry about hte SWG, it wont be needed for slamming...after slam, you can maintain iwth bleach until the SWG gets happy.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    You need to figure out the flow issue or NOTHING else is going to work. Take a look at this image.https://englishandlepage.files.wordp...ve-hayward.jpg
    This is what most sand filters look like on top. There are approximately six options. Backwash is what you need to do right now. After you backwash for a few minutes, you need to rinse for a minute. Repeat this cycle until you don't see any gunk in the sightglass. Then, put the valve back to filter and see if your pressure increases. If it does not, put the valve to Recirc, which bypasses the filter. Notes: Always turn off your pump before depressing the handle to change the setting. I have also read that you should always turn the handle clockwise.
    Your filter is likely plugged. Also check the pump strainer basket to make sure it is not full because it will also cause the pump to not function properly if it is full of gunk. Check the pool skimmer too.

    Then, once the pump and filter are clean and working, I would dump some of the pool water to get the gunk out and reduce the salt level. This is the Waste setting on your filter. Buy lots of bleach because your SWG won't be capable of keeping up until you get this cleaned up.

    Hope this helps
    Sharkline Reprieve 15x52 (3/14). Still using Intex 2650 Sand Filter with Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 3/4 HP pump (6/15). Solar Cover cut into strips for easy removal, (2) 2*10 Space Saver solar panels. Swim Jet HD Robot (by Aquabot) (3/15). Chlorine Liquidator (4 gal). 4 person hot tub. Hard pipe is the way to go for improved flow! Retired Lil Shark (3/15). Starite Max E Therm 333k BTU Propane Heater w/ 24 gal tank (7/15).

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Your VERY FIRST requirement is to get your pump circulating water properly. Do you know how to backwash? That would be my first step.
    We backwashed first thing yesterday before we got started. We do backwash regularly, but we were unaware of the other features - recirculate, rinse, vac to waste, etc. This morning, my husband turned the pool back on and it was working again, but the PSI is less than 20 on the guage.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    When my husband turned the pump on this morning, it started running. We recently had the booster pump replaced. I noticed on the SWG reading that the green light was not flashing saying the salt was too high. It was just steady green. We added 6 1/2 bags. Our pool is 26,000 gallons. When I had used the strip the day before, it read 2200 so we used the pool calculator and added what was suggested along with 1/2 the recommended CYA - mostly because it took so long to filter through the socks I had tied up all around the pool that was dispensing the CYA.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    if you only added 6 1/2 bags to a 28K pool, there is no way it will be 6000 so I think you might need some new strips if thats what it told you. Its normal for lights to flash until the salt is dissolved well and the SWG starts sensing it correctly. If the light is steady green now, then it sounds like you are good on salt.

    It sounds like you have a Pentair SWG. do you? (just for reefrence, it reallhy doesnt matter which brand you have).

    So back to the CYA. What was the reading before you added any, and how many lbs did you add? once we know that, we can start the SLAM. In your first post, you noted it was 60... is that what you belive it is?
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Whew! That makes me fell better (not salt overload).

    On Thursday, when I tested the CYA, it was 30. Yesterday I added 4 lbs and it read 60. Should I check again to be sure?

    I do believe our sand filter probably needs a deep clean, but that's not something I want to attempt without him here . This sight is so informative. I've learned so much in three days.

    Should we set the filter to recirculating for now?
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Give the CYA a week after the most recent addition, then test it again and adjust from there if needed.

    If you are having low flow issues with the filter, put the main valve on recirculate when you aren't around to keep an eye on things.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    OK! You are doing awesome Po! Your salt is good. Your CYA is 60. Your pump is running! And its gonna get better!
    Your filter doesnt need deep cleaning. Im sure of it, so let that thought escape your mind.

    Its time to SLAM now and get rid of that algae and you will be on your way to never having to worry about it too much again!

    What you want to do is buy a bunch of bleach. Regular bleach, Concentrated - the cheapest you can find. No fancy scents or splahless.
    Start with buying 8 or 12 gallons. Im sure you will need it all and then some to complete the SLAM.

    Before you go buy the bleach, set your filter to Circulate. Then go ahead and use Muriatic Acid and bring your Ph down to 7.2 and let it mix up well while you are gone to get the bleach.

    When you get back home with the bleach, use pool math to tell you how much bleach to add to get your FC to 24. 24 Is your FC level for CYA of 60.

    Set your filter setting to FILTER and add the bleach.

    Use the FAS DPD to test your FC every couple of hours. You will find that your FC has dropped, and that is expected.
    After testing, add enough bleach to get back to 24. It helps to keep a written record of your tests and how much bleach you add to get back to 24. As a note.

    You will need to backwash when your filter pressure rises by 20% above what it is now. For example, if its 18 now, then 18*.20 = 3.6 (round it off to 4). SO, backwash when the filter reads 22 psi. After each backwash, set to valve to Rinse, and rinse for a minute. Then set it to filter again and continue slamming.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    Thank you all so much! I've been trying to post pictures, buy my computer is not cooperating. I'm working from a chrome book. I know pictures are helpful.

    Just to verify what I should do today, until my husband and I can work together on deep cleaning the filter and checking for clogs:

    1. Keep pool on recirculating
    2. lower PH - this is done with muratic acid, correct? If the PH is 8, the pool calculator suggests adding 2 quarts, 3 cups of muratic acid (I do have this)

    Questions:

    1. How long after adding muratic acid should I wait to check PH again?
    2. Do I wait until the PH is good to start adding the liquid bleach?
    3. HOw much bleach should I have on hand for this SLAM process? We bought 6 gallons, but I'm thinking this might not be enough. It's 8.25%.

    Thanks again!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Whoops I missed your reply Divin Dave before I posted! Got it thanks!

    But one more question - what PSI is normal or good?
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Not Sure Where to Start - Or What We Are Doing Wrong

    I know nothing about SWG pools, but as a noobie who had to learn pool chemistry for the first time ever a year and a half ago, I wanted to encourage you to not feel overwhelmed.

    Even though it seems like there are a million things that you need to juggle at first, just approach it one step at a time. Fix the first thing, and move on to build on that. Before you know it, your water is crystal clear again, and you're wondering why it ever seemed so hard. That's sure how it was for me.

    These guys will get you straight - hang in there.
    15,000 gallon 16x30 IG w/vinyl liner built in 2006, Hayward cartridge filter, Hayward 1HP Single Speed pump, Taylor K2006.

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