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Thread: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

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    Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    This is our second year opening the pool. We didn't have a cover on it over this past winter (we live in PA) b/c the cover that came with it fell apart as we were putting it on and we didn't have enough money to buy one at that point. We were hoping to catch it before it turned really green, but we had a hot day and the pool suddenly exploded in algae. The deep end is so green you can't see anything in the water.

    We might not have started off right - we put several gallons of bleach in the past two days and started the pump. We haven't run the pump continuously overnight b/c the pump pressure goes so high so quickly. We've been bumping it and did a 'vac to waste' one time. But, it didn't seem to do much.

    I have the pool testing kit the you guys recommend. I just tested the pool and got these figures:
    FC .5
    CC .5
    TC 1
    CH 200
    TA 20
    CYA 60 (water is really cloudy, so not sure if accurate)
    PH - not even recordable

    I just did the 'pool math' and it says to add:
    146oz bleach
    503oz baking soda
    238oz calcium chloride
    2556oz washing soda

    So, those are the details...I'm just not sure of the implementation.

    1. I read this in the 'Green Swamp' page and was confused: Set the pump timer/pool automation system to run the pump continuously, and leave it running 24/7 until the water is completely clear. Now you are ready to start killing the algae.

    - Does that mean I'm not supposed to add any chlorine in until the pool water is clear? Currently mine is very very green.

    2. Am I supposed to add in all those ingredients above (b. soda, washing soda etc.) at the same time?

    3. What do I do about the algae and the filter? The pressure runs extremely high almost as soon as we clean it out and replace the DE powder. We've been bumping it, but don't know if it's okay to let it run over night at high pressures (approx 25). Should we 'vac to waste'? At what point?

    Thanks so much for your help!!!
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Your first step is to get the pH in line - this is the first step of your SLAM. Only add the items Pool Math is telling you to add to get the pH right. Once the pH is right, chlorine is what you want. Liquid chlorine.

    Does your filter have a recirculate setting? This would allow the pump to run without going through the filter for those times you can't be there to watch.

    The CYA is probably close enough, so SLAM assuming a CYA of 60.
    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: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    I'm confused about alkalinity and PH. They are different, but I do I need to raise the alkalinity in order for the PH to increase properly? My PH is so low, it would have taken 45 boxes of washing soda (according to the pool calculator) to get the correct amount. So, we bought PH UP from the pool store and put in 2lbs this afternoon. I checked it several hours later and the PH hadn't changed. Should I just keep adding 2lbs at a time every 4 hrs?
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    What test kit are you using to test your ph? Is it one of the recommended test kits from the Test Kit Comparison?
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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    I'm confused about alkalinity and PH. They are different, but I do I need to raise the alkalinity in order for the PH to increase properly? My PH is so low, it would have taken 45 boxes of washing soda (according to the pool calculator) to get the correct amount. So, we bought PH UP from the pool store and put in 2lbs this afternoon. I checked it several hours later and the PH hadn't changed. Should I just keep adding 2lbs at a time every 4 hrs?
    If the pH is very low it may take multiple additions to bring it into range. The lower limit of the standard PH test is 6.8. You can't tell what the PH really is when it reads 6.8 using that test. All you know is that it is 6.8 or lower. So, you really don't have a true number to put in Pool Math to tell you how much to add.

    I had a friend who used tabs and shock and didn't know what a pH test was. When I visited him it took me 12 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax to get it into range.

    The pH up you bought is probably Sodium Carbonate and it will push the TA up faster than 20 Mule Team Borax will.

    If the pool has any source of aeration (waterfalls, fountains ect.) turn them on because aeration raises pH.

    Lots of smaller additions to keep from overshooting the goal and going off the upper end of the scale. Right now we don't know what the pH is because it's so low.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    What test kit are you using to test your ph? Is it one of the recommended test kits from the Test Kit Comparison?
    Any test kit will work for the pH. Last year in previous posts he was using a Taylor test kit.
    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: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Is the water circulating? You could have a layer of snowmelt messing with the pH readings. If your TA really is 20, you should add some baking soda first. Target about 60 for now. That'll be enough to buffer any pH swings. And you'll no doubt be losing a lot of water whether it's because you want to lower CYA or just because you'll be backwashing a lot. No point going any higher just to flush iot out. After that is dissolved and well mixed, recheck pH and adjust it with washing soda.

    You don't need to add Calcium to a vinyl-lined pool. And again, why add it now just to end up backwashing a bunch of it away?

    With pH somewhere around 7.2 and TA above 50, you're ready to start dumping bleach. Do not neglect to drag out as much debris as you can using a leaf rake.

    If your filter has a multiport valve, you might want to just set it to recirculate and take the filter out of the equation in the early stages, so it doesn't clog. And if you can vacuum to waste, do it!

    Others have posted links to the How-to articles, so I won't repeat that.
    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.
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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Thanks for your help!

    Yes, I'm using a Taylor test kit.

    And, no I don't know what the PH is...it barely turned the water any color, so I was just assuming it was close to '0' - but I guess I really have no idea.

    Yes, the water is circulating. We go out and bump it every couple hours during the day. It just makes me nervous at night to run it for so long w/o bumping it.

    How much baking soda should I add?
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    How much baking soda should I add?
    Again, I would use 20 Mule TeamŪ Borax Natural Laundry Booster as it affects the TA a little less. You have a fairly large pool, so a box at a time is probably not outside the realm. I have added the raising pH from the Pool School below.


    Raising PH

    PH can be raised in three ways: borax, soda ash, and aeration. Borax is usually the best choice. Borax raises the PH and also raises the TA level just a little. If your TA level is low soda ash will raise both the PH and TA levels. If your TA level is high, aeration is best as it will not raise the TA level at all. However, aeration is rather slow compared to the other two.

    Borax is available as 20 Mule TeamŪ Borax Natural Laundry Booster. It is sold in the laundry detergent section of most larger grocery stores and some big box stores. Borax is best added by pre-dissolving it in a bucket of water and then pouring that slowly in front of a return.

    Soda ash is available as ARM & HAMMERŪ Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster. Do not confuse this with ARM & HAMMERŪ laundry detergent! It is sold in the laundry detergent section of most larger grocery stores and some big box stores. It is also sold by pool stores under various names, including PH Increaser, PH Up, Balance Pak 200, etc. Soda ash is best added by pre-dissolving it in a bucket of water and then pouring that slowly in front of a return.

    Aeration can be provided by a SWG, spa jets, waterfall, fountain, return pointed up so it breaks the surface, air compressor, kids splashing, rain, etc. It can take some time for aeration to raise the PH. The higher your TA level, the faster aeration will work.
    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: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Poolmath says to get from 20 to 60 in 26,800 gallons takes 16 lbs of baking soda.

    Your pH should show some color, yellow, orangish, something. If it is clear, you might have bad reagents. Check it again after adding baking soda. Or try adding a couple extra drops to make it a deeper color, easier to see.
    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.
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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Your pH should show some color, yellow, orangish, something. If it is clear, you might have bad reagents. Check it again after adding baking soda. Or try adding a couple extra drops to make it a deeper color, easier to see.
    Good point! Was the test kit stored in the garage, shed or some other area that temperature may have affected the reagents?
    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: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Sorry, probably a dumb question, but how are you converting the baking soda oz (in the pool calculator) into lbs?

    I think the PH reagent is okay - there is a faint color. We added a 5lb box of baking soda last night and the TA went up to about 35.

    So, are these the correct next steps?

    1. Add another box or two of baking soda to get TA up to approx. 60.
    2. Then add Borax (or PH up since we already have it) to bring up the PH. (it was still below 6.8 this morning).
    3. Then test the CYA again and use that number to add the correct amount of liquid bleach to bring it up to shock level.

    Thanks!
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    Sorry, probably a dumb question, but how are you converting the baking soda oz (in the pool calculator) into lbs?

    I think the PH reagent is okay - there is a faint color. We added a 5lb box of baking soda last night and the TA went up to about 35.

    So, are these the correct next steps?

    1. Add another box or two of baking soda to get TA up to approx. 60.
    2. Then add Borax (or PH up since we already have it) to bring up the PH. (it was still below 6.8 this morning).
    3. Then test the CYA again and use that number to add the correct amount of liquid bleach to bring it up to shock level.

    Thanks!
    I would stop putting in baking soda. When you raise the pH with the pH up or Borax the TA is going to come along with it. Once you get the pH right (it's the first thing to worry about) then as long as TA is reasonable (not perfect) it's time to SLAM.
    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: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    My PH is now up to where it should be and TA is around 60 I think. So, now we are ready to put in bleach. My CYA is around 65 - so according to the chart I should get my FC level up to around 24?

    When I put that in the pool calculator (current FC is 1 - target is 24) - i think it says I am supposed to put in 6 gallons. Is that correct?
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    My PH is now up to where it should be and TA is around 60 I think. So, now we are ready to put in bleach. My CYA is around 65 - so according to the chart I should get my FC level up to around 24?

    When I put that in the pool calculator (current FC is 1 - target is 24) - i think it says I am supposed to put in 6 gallons. Is that correct?
    If you set up the specifics for your pool surface and chlorine source down near the bottom of poolmath, it will show you suggested FC ranges for your CYA. With CYA of 65, shock level is actually 26. I see more like 8 gallons of standard 8.25% bleach to raise FC the first time. Be sure you enter the strength of what you're using. It will use much less if it's 12.5% stuff.

    But yes, it will use a lot. You have a pretty big pool and very high CYA. And now you see why we encourage people to keep CYA low until after the SLAM is done.
    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.
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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Right...but how do you 'keep the CYA low'. Are you saying something we did raised it? I think that is the level the pool was at when we bought the house last year.
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: Help with SLAMing - pool is a swamp

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    Right...but how do you 'keep the CYA low'. Are you saying something we did raised it? I think that is the level the pool was at when we bought the house last year.
    What I mean is that many people have low CYA, and they rush to take it up to the target immediately. In a SWG pool, that would be 70. It's better to keep it reasonable and raise it later. It doesn't apply in your case, since you won't be adding any CYA, but it is in the SLAM instructions, third paragraph under "Details."

    Somebody did something to that pool water to get CYA to 65. It doesn't occur naturally. Typically, it comes from overuse of pucks and powdered chlorine.
    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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