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Thread: First pool opening - novice owner

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    First pool opening - novice owner

    Hello guys / gals of TFP. I'm a novice pool owner going thru my first spring opening. I'm not sure if the steps I have taken are wrong or right and accept criticism fairly openly when I have no idea about the subject (I'm open for learning so punch away) I will give you my stats of what I know (and supply you with anything I can find out not known) so far then dive into my problem.

    Here's what I know :
    Above ground 24' diameter pool 52" High
    25 ga. unibead viynl liner I purchased last summer
    Sandfilter with 1 year old sand

    Okay so last year I get this pool from my aunt as she divorced and had just bought it new 2 months previous, "if you want the pool, come and take it down and you can have it free of charge"....well I done this and then came home and mid summer last year I installed the pool. Last year was a snap once I got the pool installed. Simply put, took off a few days from work. gathered some friends and it was up in a few days. Of course then I filled it with water, went and bought all the needed chemicals, balanced the water (using the test strips I've gained knowledge of that everyone on here hates, haha) and the pool was wonderful all year. Now then, come early fall I had to leave town for a bit and didn't get the pool closed up as soon as I would have liked (I'm in Kentucky btw). When I returned it was time for my wife and I to have our first baby so I was very overwhelmed with many other things with the pool being basically the last thing on my mind. I purchased a closing chemical set online (probably a cheaper one than I should have I admit, it was like $30) and pulled the cover over only to find that it had a few holes in it where my cousin had ripped it delivering it. Anyhoot, wife was about to have a baby, throw it on, good enough for now, deal with it next spring......well next spring is here......YUCK! What a monster I created. (Learned that one the hard way)

    Now then, that being said.....you experienced owners can just picture what I uncovered. Nasty, slimy, stinky algae and green water. Maple leaf helicopters, pine needles, leaves, frogs....you name it, it was probably in there. I mean like 3" clarity greenish-blackish water. So first I pull off the cover and use the skimmer net to gather anything I can while turning the sand pump on and letting it run (after I hooked it back up from storage). I fought that for a day or two just getting out what I could and continuing pumping until the water seemed at least a tolerable blackish green. I then went to Menards and bought a pool rake and wall brush. I've went over the bottom of the pool once (of course I can't see it) and removed and removed and removed raked bags of leaves and god knows what else until I was barely getting anything anymore with the rake. I then scrubbed the walls (once over so far) and added chemicals on 5/16 of this month. First I added shock (Clorox Pool Shock X-tra Blue, then again as double treatment - 4 bottles total the first day 1 bottle treats 10k gallons). I went out to the next morning (pump running all night once I got all the algae out that would clog it) and tested the water with a strip and the FC was lower than needed to shock so I added a 5th and 6th bottle of shock. Clean, pump and rake out constantly each day what i can while testing with strips over and over (I know I know). Go to Menards and buy 2 gallons of liquid shock and add one then the other a few days later and keep pumping. Almost a light green now instead of black. My pump has never stopped running btw. I've back washed it everyday and sometimes more than once a day. I tested the Ph and for the first time it was reading slightly low so I added 6lbs of Arm & Hammer which seemed to get it back near where it needs to be. I figured since it got me from black to dark green I once again went and bought some more Clorox Ultra Blue shock and added another 4 bottles over a few days which got me to a pretty teal light blue cloudy water (not what I need I know but better than black, I think at least . That brings me up to now, 11 days later I have a what I would call cloudy blue pool. The green is gone, the water looks quite clean actually but I've still yet to see the bottom of it. I do noticed water logged leaves every now and then floating and almost clear (I assume where the shock has took hold). I have small square tiles on my liner and at glance on the side walls I seem to be seeing a little more and more liner each day but the past few days have seemed to start leveling out. If I use the cheap strips to test, all of my chemicals are in range (best I can tell) with the chlorine of course being thru the roof because I've kept it elevated. I'm thinking I should be able to see the bottom by now maybe? I also realize from reading that it takes sand pumps longer to filter so I'm not sure of to how long to wait.

    Now then, now ya know a bit about my situation...what do you think guys? I know first off from what I've gathered searching this morning is that I need to buy a Taylor testing kit I suppose? I hate to spend $70 on that thing but I guess if that's what I need then it is what it is. I don't mind ordering the kit but is there anything else I can do while waiting on the kit to arrive? All I have at the moment are the Accucheck test trips. I guess my strips truly do suck after all. haha. I suppose they are fine if your water is clear from a fresh start but getting black water clean...not so much. So okay guys, that's my story. Rip me up and tell me how stupid I am for doing what I've done and point me in the right direction please? Also lets say there are a bunch of debris on the bottom of the pool (being as I can't see the bottom). Should I try to get down in the pool and use the leaf rake to get that out of there first or try vacuuming with a close eye to make sure nothing gets clogged? At this point I'm not sure if it's fairly clean or if it's completely covered on the bottom. I guess my question needs to be, would a debris filled bottom keep you from having clear enough water to see thru to the bottom or should I at some point be able to see the bottom just letting my sand filter run? Any help or advice would be appreciated guys. Until then I'll just read some posts and find out any answers I can gathering info with the search tool.

    Thanks a million! Looking forward to being an active member if I can get this mess straightened out soon. Help me make my wife happy, then I'm happy.....she and I are much happier with her bikini on

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Welcome to TFP! Congrats on the pool and the new rugrat!

    Yes, you definitely need to buy one of the Recommended Test Kits. I use the TF100 from tftestkits.net. It gives you a little more bang for your buck.

    After you get the test kit you need to SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain your pool. Plenty of time between now and then to read the process a few times!

    Also while you are waiting, get your leaf rake and scoop everything you can out of the pool. The less stuff in the pool the faster the SLAM goes.
    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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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Thanks for the reply Pooldv. After taking care of all the other chores around and leaving the pump running non stop since my last post......and again vacuuming just yesterday I can finally see the bottom vinyl tile pattern is the good news. Though the water is still far from clear. I think it seems pretty "clean" but still very cloudy. Anyhow, The bad news is I received my TF100 kit today per your recommendation and my results are probably where you guys tell me to refill half my pool or more I'm guessing. I'm thinking all of that shock has my CYA too high....live and learn. Here are the results I came up with guys.

    PH: 7.9

    FC: 14

    CC: 2

    TC: 16

    CH: 325

    TA: 150

    CYA: 85

    Any advice is appreciated guys. The only chemicals added since my first post are one can of Clorox Bleach just today. (I was worried waiting on my test kit that it may be getting too low on chlorine. Luckily the kit arrived this evening). Also I apologize about not having my stats in the profile. I will get those in first chance I get. Sand Filter, Above Ground 24 X 52. Also I should add that I've vacuumed the pool several times and also left the auto vac (AquaBug Beetle) run for hours so I think the floor should be rather clean.

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    Scuba_Steve's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    I am pretty sure that the shock does not contain CYA. It contains copper, which is why it is not recommended. Your CYA is probably from last year (triclor pucks?). Draining now would be your best bet if in fact your CYA is that high. SLAMing will be much easier and cheaper with a lower CYA.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
    TF-100
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Please add your pool info to your signature as shown here, Pool School - Read This BEFORE You Post.

    Draining about 40% of your pool and refilling is a good idea at this point. It will make the SLAM easier with lower CYA and lower the copper if you have copper in your water.

    The PH test is not valid when FC is above 10, let it drop below 10 and adjust PH first.

    Check out these Pool School articles
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    Pool School - Recommended Levels
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals
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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: First pool opening - novice owner

    Okay so I plan to start my drain this afternoon to get my CYA level down to about 1/2 what it is currently. One question though as I've seem to find varying answers. If my above result posted 85 CYA and I'd like to get it to at least around 40 I'd need to replace at least half the water correct? So can I just drain it down to my skimmer box using my pump then siphon the rest to half way and start then start refilling? Or do I drain to the skimmer box, refill, drain again to skimmer and refill, repeat as necessary? Seems like I could just go ahead and drain it down to halfway or a little more and refill it but I'm seeing some posts that recommend against that method? I don't see how this would danger my pool or liner in any way that I know of. Would you guys enlighten me if it would? Thanks for the help everyone. I will be replacing with city water btw which had nearly 0 CYA when I filled fresh last spring.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    While you wait for a specific reply, I found this THREAD.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    I will for sure do that Pooldv as soon as I can. I just have to figure out what all I have first. haha

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Thanks, I read thru it Texas. From the sounds of it I may not even need to go to half. Like DV mentions above I'm thinking around 40%. I will start the process when I leave the office this afternoon.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Good luck!
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    I'm down to about 26" deep at the moment and counting. I'm thinking I'm going to take it to 22" deep and then start the refill. Time to sit back, have a cold one and wait a little longer. I currently have 4 vacuum tubes siphoning out the water. Wish it went back in this fast! I'll keep everyone posted.

    Update: took it down to 22". Now I'm on the way back up to paradise. LoL

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Okay guys....Got my signature added and my pool refilled! haha Per the Update above I took the pool down to 22" by backwashing the heck out of my pump as far down as I could. It didn't take long. I then hooked up my AquaBug auto vac and let that little sucker vacuum to waste out into the yard. Why not kill 2 birds with one stone right? drain & vacuum. Threw in a couple of vacuum hoses and got them siphoning and it was down in no time. Once it got down around 22" I took my wall brush and gave everything a quick but decent scrub and started refilling. I'm back to full as of this evening and just performed the tests. I've added nothing to the new water so far. I did turn the pump on once the water level was adequate and have continued to leave it running as of now. Here's the results.

    FC: 1
    CC: 0.5
    TC: 1.5
    CH: 325
    TA: 125
    CYA: 35 (Yay!)
    PH: 7.9 to 8 ish

    What say you guys? I've got all chemicals needed (I think) and nothing to do but chill. Haha. Get the Ph down a tad bit would be the first step I suppose correct? I assume I do this before adding any bleach?

    Thanks in advance guys / gals.
    15,000 gal - AG - Vinyl Beaded Liner
    Pentair Meteor 22" Sand Filter
    Pentair Dynamo 1.5HP Pump
    Installed Summer 2014
    TF-100 Test Kit, City Water

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Actually I see now where Pool School says 8.0 is acceptable for swimming. I was thinking it said 7.2-7.8. I suppose my Ph is fine really then. Also as a side note. The water is still a bit cloudy although I can see the bottom no problem. I suppose this is from the remaining cloudy 22" I left in mixing with the new water. I will be curious to see if the pump makes a difference by morning. I will leave it running all evening.

    UPDATE: I see now that it was the Handy Reference guide that recommended 7.5-7.8 for vinyl w/ bleach. My first hunch was right. So...Lower the Ph a tad bit first correct? I swear the more and more I read on this site, I really realize that I had no idea what I was doing last year....throw chlorine tablets in, test with a strip and swim. LOL. I was an idiot....haha I'm already appreciative of the site and the help guys. Nice to be here.

    Thanks again (sorry for the rambling posts)
    15,000 gal - AG - Vinyl Beaded Liner
    Pentair Meteor 22" Sand Filter
    Pentair Dynamo 1.5HP Pump
    Installed Summer 2014
    TF-100 Test Kit, City Water

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Okay got the Ph to 7.6. Adjusting bleach levels now.
    15,000 gal - AG - Vinyl Beaded Liner
    Pentair Meteor 22" Sand Filter
    Pentair Dynamo 1.5HP Pump
    Installed Summer 2014
    TF-100 Test Kit, City Water

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    Scuba_Steve's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Now that your CYA is in line you need to start your SLAM. So in short, read up on it and go buy a couple cases of bleach. Get your FC up to slam level for your CYA level and keep it there until you pass a OCLT, have a CC of 1 or below, and have crystal clear water.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
    TF-100
    Helpful Links

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Hey, alright! Good news on your CYA level! Yes, it takes some time reading and doing to really understand how to take care of your pool. But, once you get it under control it is really easy. So, time to get the pool up to shock level and SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain your pool.
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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: First pool opening - novice owner

    Well last night I took it up to 12 FC since im around 30 CYA and this morning it was still at 12 FC. It was cloudy all day with hardly any sun btw. Tested again at lunch and was at 12 FC still. Got home this evening and tested to 10 FC. Added 45oz bleach to return to 12FC because the water still had a ways to go for crystal clear yet. Unfortunately found a baby bird in the skimmer basket. Okay so this is a first for me guys. I assume the bleach will take care of any possible contamination? It was a decent size chick. Ive seen her bouncing around the yard a few weeks now. Poor thing never had a chance.
    15,000 gal - AG - Vinyl Beaded Liner
    Pentair Meteor 22" Sand Filter
    Pentair Dynamo 1.5HP Pump
    Installed Summer 2014
    TF-100 Test Kit, City Water

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Yeah, too bad about the bird. Yes, the chlorine will take care of any issues. That is a good start to the SLAM, the chlorine consumption isn't too bad. Keep your filter going, on low if it is a 2 speed pump. Backwash when pressure rises 20-25% above clean pressure. And brush the walls and bottom to speed it along and expose algae to the chlorine.
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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

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    Came home today at lunch and it was once again down to 10. I pumped it back up to 12 and headed back to work. Returned about 2 hours ago and haven't tested it yet but I did vacuum the bottom and scrub the walls once over with the wall brush. Back washed the filter real good also. I'm going to have some dinner and then test again and adjust as needed to reach 12 again. One question for you guys. In the slam process is it okay that it's getting down to 10 FC when 12 FC is my desired goal or should I shoot for a bit above 12? Wasn't sure when I head to the office during the day if I should maybe try to get a retired neighbor to add some bleach mid morning or something? I realize the M in Slam is for maintain so I just wanted to be sure I was okay just getting it back up as soon as I got a chance. Is it just kind of "in general" or am I screwing up big time letting it drop mid morning to 10FC while I'm at the office. Water is rather clear now although not crystal just yet. I will adjust after dinner then update you guys again. Thanks! Oh and I should add the filter hasn't been turned off once since the process began. Unfortunately it's a one speed pump though.
    15,000 gal - AG - Vinyl Beaded Liner
    Pentair Meteor 22" Sand Filter
    Pentair Dynamo 1.5HP Pump
    Installed Summer 2014
    TF-100 Test Kit, City Water

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: First pool opening - novice owner

    You can raise FC to 14 in the AM to keep the FC up a little more. Looking good!
    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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