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Thread: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

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    New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Hey All,
    I just wanted to introduce myself, my name is Steve and I live in Norman, OK. I am closing this week on a home with a pool, which is likely a little bit of an older pool, but still very excited. For the last few weeks I have browsed the site, read pool school and all supported documents, even laminated them all, and ordered/received my TF-100 kit. Needless to say, I am excited! I have never owned a pool before but am a DIY kind of person for the most part and look forward to maintaining the pool myself and hopefully keeping it crystal clear and trouble free. I was unable to get any water testing done, but will be starting that on day 1 once we are in the house. I have a few question, as well as will post a few pics of the pool and equipment.

    1) First, approx. how big of a pool would you calculate this to be? From furthest end to furthest end, it is 40 feet long, and 20 feet wide. The shallowest end is just over 3 feet, as well as having stairs, and the deepest part of the pool is approx. 6.5 feet in the middle. It then shallows again to the other side to approx. 4 feet deep with a sitting bench as seen in the pic. Lastly, it is a rectangle but with the "corners" missing, so I am unsure of how many gallons this would reduce the size. Anyways, with these measurements and the attached pic, how big do you all think approx? Im guessing between 26k and 31k.



    2) Next, the pool makes use of a Rainbow 320 auto chlorinator, which I believe uses pucks and adds CYA constantly. Is it a valid assumption that the pool will have very high CYA levels and need to be partially drained/refilled to get the CYA down to acceptable levels?


    3) Energy efficiency is a pretty large concern of mine, and I don't believe the pump that is currently installed is very energy efficient. Are there any variable speed ones you all highly recommend at a reasonable price and sized ideally for this sized pool. I am guessing a 1.5 to 2 hp pump would be sufficient? This is the current pump:


    4) The current filter is leaking from what appears to be the collar up at the top, and according to a local pool store who did a previous inspection, it is due to the threads being damaged and unreplaceable and unrepairable. Is this true, or are they trying to sell somebody a filter? Also, I don't know what the current homeowners level of maintenence is, but the gauge was showing over 60 psi. I know they are often inaccurate, and I am guessing this would be the case? Is it recommended to replace the filter, and if so with what brand/size/model. This is the current filter



    5) As I mentioned earlier, this is likely an older pool and thus doesn't have much for automation/technological control. Is it possible and fairly painless to upgrade the pool to a system where I could potentially control the systems via Wifi on my phone or at least some sort of integrated touch pad. If so, what different parts would I need to complete the setup? Here is the current system and timer.



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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    1) I guess around 25k gallons. You don't need to be exact, and can adjust your guess over time.
    2) CYA being very high is likely, but sometimes CYA vanishes over the winter, so you never know.
    3) A two speed pump will have the lowest lifetime cost, and a 1 HP will be sufficient for a plain pool (no spa, waterfall, etc).
    4) The gauge is just broken. I've seen it go both ways, the threads do sometimes fail, and sometimes they say that because they don't want to deal with it.
    5) You can certainly upgrade the control system, but that is a fair amount of money and there is so little here that needs controlling here that I wouldn't bother.
    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: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Hi! Congratulations on the house and pool! Once you get the hang of managing the pool, you'll love every second of it. Even the "managing" part.

    On to my thoughts about your questions:

    1. The pool volume calculator at the bottom of Pool Math says, for 40' x 20' by 5' average depth, it is just shy of 30,000 gallons. The beveled corners probably cut 10-15% off of that, and the 5' average depth might be a bit optimistic. So I'd estimate about 26000 gallons. Fortunately, once you take over managing the pool, you can use Pool Math to calculate exactly how much chlorine to add to reach a certain FC level, and if your resulting level is a bit off, you can use that to get a better idea of the pool volume.

    2. Yes, your CYA levels are most likely going to be sky high, and you'll probably have to do some draining and refilling. You might want to research what the water table is like in that neighborhood, so you'll know how much you can safely drain. If it comes to that, post another question here and you'll get tons of valuable advice that will protect your pool from damage.

    3) As for pool pumps, a 1HP motor would be sufficient for that size pool as long as you keep your pool chemistry managed properly. But a 1.5HP pump might clear a swamp slightly faster. A two-speed would save energy, letting you keep water circulating on low speed for daily use, but bumping to high speed for vacuuming. Variable-speed pumps are typically overkill and overly expensive, and in the past they have tended to fail more often than simpler pumps.

    4) With all due respect for the guy from the pool store....... Ah, who am I kidding? I have very little respect for most of the pool-store people that I've interacted with. The good ones are few and far between, and if you find one, give him/her all the business that you can. Anyway, if the filter pressure really is 60PSI, then the filter will be leaking out of every connection, and that is not necessarily a sign of damage. (If the filter pressure is really 60PSI, the filter may be damaged beyond repair by the time you take possession of the house. Most likely the gauge is just broken. But with a 2HP pump and a clogged filter, 60psi is not completely outside the realm of possibility.) Fortunately, it appears that all of the pipes leading to the filter have unions in them, so it will be easy to disconnect and test, and replace if necessary. The existing sand filter is an excellent brand, so if you replace it with the exact same model, you won't have to change any plumbing. If you have a chance to drop by the house, and if you won't get in trouble for sneaking around the backyard, try turning the pump off (the red lever just below the timer dial). If the pressure gauge doesn't drop to 0 within a couple seconds, the gauge is broken.

    5) Chemical automation and WiFi control should probably go in a separate thread, once you actually take possession. But, as JasonLion points out, once you see how easy it is to maintain the pool, you will find very little incentive to spend money on automation. Maybe a stenner pump for chlorine, but don't rush out and buy one yet. There is a sub-forum on TFP specifically for automation topics: Chemical-Automation-and-The-Liquidator. Lots of interesting stuff in there for you to peruse.

    I notice that the timer is missing the little doohickeys that clamp onto the dial and actually flip the power on and off. Oh yeah, they're called "trippers". Hopefully you'll find them in the bin of pool supplies that the previous owners will leave for you. I'm also concerned about those disconnected black wires inside the timer, and the cheesy duct tape covering the connections. Might be totally safe, but best to check it out very carefully when you get a chance.

    Oh, wait! I just looked again. The pump is 230V, but the automation system says 120V. They might have done what the nitwits that upgraded our pumps a few years ago did. When they swapped out the 120V pump for 230V models, they connected the existing three-conductor wiring to 230V, and kept the switch on the timer in the circuit. But since 230V would burn out the timer motor, they simply disconnected the timer part. The on-off switch still works manually, but the timer is not usable. If this is what happened at soon-to-be-your pool, this could explain why they removed the trippers from the timer. Once you pull that duct tape off, you'll be able to see if the timer motor has power going to it. Since your pool pump should be on a GFCI, trying to use the ground wire (bonding wire) as the neutral to get 115V for the timer motor would cause the GFCI to trip. If my suspicion here is correct, you'll want to replace the wiring with proper four-conductor cable for 230V. Once you have a proper neutral, you might be able to hook the timer back up to 115V. Ideally you would replace that timer with one designed for 230V, since, with a pump motor, it is best to switch both legs of a 230V circuit simultaneously to avoid arcing due to power stored in the motor coils. If it isn't too late, you might want to ask for another inspection by a qualified electrician to see if the wiring is up to code for a 230V circuit. (Of course, this is all speculation based on a couple pictures, so don't panic! )
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Welcome to TFP! Congrats on the new house and pool! Nice first post!

    Get one of the Recommended Test Kits, I use the TF100 from tftestkits.net. When you get it give us some test results and we'll see where we are.

    Here are some of my fave Pool School articles to get you started.
    TFPC for Beginners
    ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry

    Here are the Recommended Levels for your pool.
    Here is the Water Balance for a saltwater pool.
    Here are the Recommended Pool Chemicals and how to add them.
    Use PoolMath to figure out how much to add.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Thanks so much Jason. I am hoping the CYA isn't too outrageous, but am not getting my hopes up. I will look into the two speeds, and when we move in will inspect and monitor the filter a bit closer for leaking. That makes sense about the automation, with so few systems it is likely better to just keep it simple. If we eventually add a heater like there was originally, maybe we will look into it.
    Can anybody recommend a good replacement gauge? I have read something about the TF 100 sites, which they offer a bottom mount, and a rear mount. Which would I get for my filter?
    Also, I am looking to purchase an automatic cleaner. From what I've read, the Dolphin brand has a great reputation. The standard Nautilus is only $515 on amazon, or I have read good things about the Z5. Is the double the price cleaner that much better, especially for a pool like mine?

    Thanks again!

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    April's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    I had lots of water running out of the top of my filter. I thought the filter was busted. My husband took it apart and deep cleaned it. It was still leaking. Then he took the top back off and lubed the O ring and doesn't lose a drop of water now. I was surprised that lube was all that it needed when water was literally running out of the top.
    18ft Round AG, Vinyl, 100LB Pentair Sand Filter, 1HP, June 2012, TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Tfestkits.net sell very nice pressure gauges for a reasonable price.

    I thought the trippers were called dogs. Does duct tape conduct electricity? Do let us know if you happen to find out.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    April's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Just purchase one from tftestkits.net. Extremely nice gauge!
    18ft Round AG, Vinyl, 100LB Pentair Sand Filter, 1HP, June 2012, TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Legend, re: your question about pool cleaners...I have the dolphin M4 supreme and love it. The top-loading baskets are easy to clean and its a little work horse, climbs walls well and picks up virtually anything.

    Understanding the differences between Dolphin models is a bit like reading goat entrails though, so I'm not certain what features the two models you mentioned have

    Congrats on your new pool...I mean house...no really, I mean pool
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Thank you all for the responses. I pulled the trigger on a Dolphin Z5 from Epic Pools and used the discounted noted somewhere on the forum. I have a question that I can't seem to figure out. If anybody has any ideas, please let me know!
    When the homeowners moved out, I believe they did something to disable the pump from running, and I cannot figure out how to get it started back up. I am 99% certain it is not getting any electric, even though the breaker box and everything seems to be "ON" I did notice there are two black wires coming from the manual ON/OFF switch that are disconnected and may be discontinuing the circuit. Below is a picture of what I am talking about, and if anything obvious jumps out at you all, please let me know. Thanks a ton in advance!


  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    The manual override switch appears to be set to the "manual on" position, so it should be working. What happens when you flip the switch back and forth? (It's the red lever below the clock dial.)

    The wiring in that box is better than I expected.

    The switch is probably still usable, unless the arcing when connecting/disconnecting has burnt the contacts enough that they no long make a solid electrical connection.

    The disconnected black wires are for the "fireman switch", used for turning off heaters and such 20 minutes before the pump is turned off. You could also use that for running a stenner pump for chlorination.

    If flipping the red lever back and forth doesn't get things running:
    1. Do you have a multi-tester or a voltage tester of any kind? Need to see if power is actually showing up at the switch. Be careful, don't electrocute yourself. 230V can be painful. Check for voltage across terminals 1 and 3, and then check across 2 and 4. If you get voltage at 1 and 3, but not 2 and 4, then the switch is turned off or is bad.
    2. Looking through the holes just above the dial, do you see any gears moving? If so, then the timer motor is still good. That means, if the switch still works, you can install the trippers to turn the pump on and off. If you're getting power, but the gears aren't moving, the timer motor is bad.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Thank you for the reply. I have flipped the switch back and forth with no result, and it doesn't seem as though anything is moving, altho the longer I looked the more I think maybe the dials were moving verrrrry slowly. I am not sure if it is slow moving to the point of barely being visible?
    I do have voltage testers, I just need to figure out where it is packed and get at it. Any other tips or things to try? I am praying the pump didn't somehow fry in the last 2 weeks when the previous owners left, but if it did I suppose it will be an opportunity to upgrade to a 2 speed or VS

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Do you have a disconnect anywhere near that timer? They may have switched it off, but that seems like a dumb thing to do.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Not that I can tell, everything that seems to have an ON/OFF switch is switch to ON, as well as the breakers. There is also a small lightswitch looking thing that is flipped to ON as well. Hmmmmmm

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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Have you adjusted the time dial? The first pic shows it pointing at noon, the second says 8pm. If you didn't do that manually, it suggests that the timer motor is running, which means power getting to the timer.

    Have you found your voltage tester yet?

    I suppose, in the absence of a multitester, you could do the following to see if the timer contacts are faulty:
    1. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
    2. Take the red wire from terminal 2, and move it to terminal 1. (So two red wires attached to the same terminal.)
    3. Take the red wire from terminal 4, and move it to terminal 3. ( " " " " " )
    4. Switch on the power at the circuit breaker.

    If the pump starts, the timer switch is bad. The circuit breaker isn't designed to be a motor starter switch, so don't leave things hooked up this way for long. Switching a motor on and off with a circuit breaker can shorten the life of the contacts in the breaker. In fact, maybe you should forget I even suggested this experiment.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    That would help narrow it down to the timer contacts.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Okay folks, I got my voltage tester and got nothing. So, on a whim I pushed the breaker all the way to off, and it went further than it initially had. Of course, the problem was that simple that I just hadnt turned the breaker fully off before turning it on. So, I have power to the pump and she fires up. I backwashed and rinsed with no problems, however when attempting to filter now, the breaker is tripping after about a minute or so. The water after backwashing was coming out pretty clear so I don't believe the filter should still be dirty enough to resist flow and cause the motor to trip the breaker? Any thoughts on this? After reading, maybe a less than good wire connection somewhere could be causing it? Also, I live in Oklahoma where we have had TONS of wet weather lately, so I am also thinking this could be a possible cause?

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Is the pump getting hot? What's the filter pressure? Could be a weak breaker than needs to be replaced. Is the breaker hot? I had a 100 amp main on a secondary panel that controls the addition to my house and the pool stuff keep tripping on me last year, and it was hot. Replaced it and everything worked as it should and the breaker was cool to the touch.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    My pressure gauge is off, it is reading 55 psi when the pump is off, so I am unsure. I am going to backwash again once the water soaks into the ground a bit, just to make sure the filter isn't causing any issue. The pump lasted a lot longer this time before tripping the breaker, approx 10-12 mins and the pump motor was hot, but could still keep my hand on without any extreme discomfort. I am thinking it may just be pressure in the filter being too high as this never seemed to be an issue when the previous homeowners were here, but now that they moved out I am assuming the filter never got backwashed for 2 weeks and built up pressure?

  20. Back To Top    #20
    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner with a Few Questions With PICS

    Sounds like you definitely need a new gauge. Does the pump make any kind of unusual sound when it is running?


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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