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Thread: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

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    Cool HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Hi! My husband and I moved into our house 2 years ago and we have yet to get our pool right. He has tried for the last 2 summers and is fed up so, this is my year, and I intend to get it right!! (and keep it that way). But I need help. I've read the ABC's in pool school, but I really need to have my hand held through this process. I was ready to go to a pool store and trust them to walk me through it, but after finding this forum, I've decided that's probably the worst thing I can do. We had a pool guy come out twice last summer and well, it was a waste of money. So, if you can help me show my husband "who's boss" , I'd be so appreciative!!

    First things first, I'm fairly certain I just need to get the water to the right level. BUT, before I add water, should I get the debris out or does it really matter? It's getting GREENER by the day!!

    Also, we have a cartridge filter (not sand) and it seems like a pain in the butt, do I need to consider purchasing a sand filter? I'd rather not spend the money, but if it makes a substantial difference, I'd be willing to look into it.

    Included are pictures of the pool, filter, and pump.





    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Welcome to TFP!

    BUT, before I add water, should I get the debris out or does it really matter?
    Yes, get it out. It will make a difference.

    Also, we have a cartridge filter (not sand) and it seems like a pain in the butt, do I need to consider purchasing a sand filter?
    That's up to you. A sand filter is easier to maintain and you can still have a sparkling pool with it. I'm living proof of that. If the cartridge filter is still in good shape, you can still use it though you will have to clean out the grids periodically.

    One thing we do require to practice our methods is one of the Recommended Test Kits. I use the TF-100 because it's the best value and they have a freshness guarantee. You can order it here: TFTestkits.net. They ship fast - you should have it in your hands in 2-3 days with normal shipping.

    I would also browse these articles to get an overview of our methods:
    1. Recommended Pool Chemicals
    2. ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry
    3. Chlorine CYA Chart
    4. Pool Math
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Definitely get the test kit. It's an investment in the care and life of your pool and makes testing so easy. You don't need to switch filters if you don't want to. Just clean it when the pressure rises.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    You're gonna win this one! You found TFP you're already on your way to Pool Level = Boss. lol

    First things first, a proper test kit is the main ingredient you need to get that pool in order and keep it that way. Bo gave you a link to read about the ones we recommend and I'm going to throw in my 2 cents....get the TF-100. It's the best value and you won't have to turn around and order refills for it a week later because it's specifically made with TFP in mind so it gives you more of the reagents you'll use the most. The K-2006 comes in a nifty box with "cute" bottles standing up in there but "cute" = small. TF-100 might not be as cute but it's got more oomph to it and it still comes in a nifty box! :-p

    Welcome to TFP! You've come to the right place and this will be the year you get your pool under control. We'll help.

    BTW, we love pictures so keep em coming!
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Ok, I went to order the kit. I need to order $12 more in order to get free shipping. Any recommendation on what I should order that I will use over the course of the summer?
    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by carterje View Post
    Ok, I went to order the kit. I need to order $12 more in order to get free shipping. Any recommendation on what I should order that I will use over the course of the summer?
    The XL option is a must when dealing with a green pool. You'll be burning through the FAS-DPD powder in a hurry during the SLAM process, and it's the one test reagent that is almost never stocked at a local pool store. And nobody who has bought a speedstir regrets it. Either or both will put you into free shipping.

    Your cartridge filter will be a PITA while you're clearing this mess, but once the pool is tamed, it should have no problem keeping things clean with minimal attention from you. I wouldn't buy a new filter until the old one fails. I'm just cheap that way.

    The more stuff you can manually remove, the less the bleach will try to oxidize away. Do you have a leaf rake? It's not really a rake... it looks like this. That's what you use to scoop the crud out.

    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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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Yes, I have a Leaf rake and ordered both the XL option and FAS-DPD with the test kit. I'm already feeling hopeful! Love the advice on waiting to replace the filter until it becomes necessary (I'm cheap like that as well). Sounds like I'll be scooping some sludge, then fill the pool, then post my numbers up here to get my next step. I'll post in a few days with my progress!!
    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Alright, so the pool cleaner hasn't been going too well. As I go to use the leaf rake, I'm getting very little in the bag. It seems as it all the "stuff" just disintegrates as I go to scoop and I'm just stirring it up making it worse. So, then I attempted to use our robotic pool cleaner (which is suppose to have a 2 hour run cycle) and it seems to get clogged up with green "sludge" every 20 minutes. So, I'm in the process of filling it at this point. It should be filled later this afternoon. On another note, i do have the TF-100 test kit now. My questions are:

    1. With all the junk in there, did I make the wrong decision to just start filling?
    2. Is there a better way to get the junk out?
    3. Once filled, do I start running the filter immediately (without any chemicals)?
    4. When do I determine which chemicals to start with?
    5. I really need to have a swimmable pool by the 4th of July - is that going to happen?

    As always, thank you so much.
    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Welcome and congrats on getting the kit. Please post your test results so we can help you get started on the SLAM.
    PH
    FC
    CC
    TA
    CH and
    CYA*

    The cya is a tricky test but important because your levels determine the next step and the ratio of FC you need to slam.

    Here's a video re the cya test: Testing Cyanuric Acid with the TF-100 - YouTube
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Do all of the tests and post the results here.

    Do you have a manual vacuum? That will work better than your robot for right now. All of the algae is clogging up your robot.

    The stuff you are stirring up is algae is my guess. The bleach will kill it!

    Do you have LOTS of bleach? If not get it! Call your pool store an see if they sell liquid chlorine and how much it is for a gal. You might have to put a refundable deposit on their jugs.

    IF you follow the SLAM to the letter you might have your pool ready. It will be a fight but we will help you give it a good go!

    Now go do your tests and post the results here please.

    kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Lots of great advice already. A couple other notes to things you asked:
    - Yes, the pump needs to run 24/7 while you SLAM
    - As Richard confirmed, the cartridge filter will be a pain FOR NOW because you will be cleaning (rinsing) it a lot to remove the dead algae. After that though, it should take minimal work. Now that my water is TFP clear, I rinse mine out once every 2-3 weeks, or maybe sooner if I had to vacuum the pool for some reason. Not bad at all.
    - As for the muck that is dissolved in your pool, just be patient and do your best. Scoop, sweep, rinse, vacuum, repeat, repeat, repeat. Consider it one of those pool "lessons learned" experiences. Once you get it fixed, you should never have to do it again. We look forward to more pics of your progress. 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.
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    Pysiek's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Like kimkats said get a lot of bleach!! You will need it. Also you need to remove the stuff from your pool. I know it is long process but little by little you can remove it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by carterje View Post
    Alright, so the pool cleaner hasn't been going too well. As I go to use the leaf rake, I'm getting very little in the bag. It seems as it all the "stuff" just disintegrates as I go to scoop and I'm just stirring it up making it worse. So, then I attempted to use our robotic pool cleaner (which is suppose to have a 2 hour run cycle) and it seems to get clogged up with green "sludge" every 20 minutes. So, I'm in the process of filling it at this point. It should be filled later this afternoon. On another note, i do have the TF-100 test kit now. My questions are:

    1. With all the junk in there, did I make the wrong decision to just start filling?
    2. Is there a better way to get the junk out?
    3. Once filled, do I start running the filter immediately (without any chemicals)?
    4. When do I determine which chemicals to start with?
    5. I really need to have a swimmable pool by the 4th of July - is that going to happen?

    As always, thank you so much.
    1. No
    2. Manual vacuum. Slow process because filter is getting clogged pretty fast but it's necessary.
    3. Run 24/7 till you get the water parameters right
    4. For now check your CYA level and shock the pool by using this table Chlorine/CYA chart
    5. It is going to happen if you will sacrifice everyday for the pool. Listen to all the advices here and it will happen
    30'x54" Quest Above Ground Round Pool , About 21,000 Gallons , Hayward Perflex EC50 D.E. Filter System 1.5HP Power-Flo Pump , TF-100 Test Kit , Two Hayward Main Drains on the Bottom , Hayward CL200 In-Line Above-Ground Chlorinator.
    77"x77"x21.5" Hot Tub

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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Fill your pool up as far as it will go.

    Use a manual vacuum to suck up the stuff with your pump SET to waste! That way it is just going OUT of the pool in the waste water instead of making your filter clog up.

    While you are going to waste I would also have the hose in the pool adding water as you vacuum.

    Once you have the water down to where you can still vacuum turn your pump off and set your filter to filter and let it run with loads of bleach in it. Use Pool Math to tell you how much you need to add.

    You will need to test at least every other hour if at all possible. If you can test EVERY hour that would be great but........

    The more you test and refill the bleach the faster your slam will go.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    I'm overwhelmed. New questions:
    1. Do the tests BEFORE I turn on the pump? (The water still isn't high enough)
    2. When do you put the bleach in? Now, before the water reaches the appropriate level or after it's full?
    3. My husband asks why not use muratic to clear it?
    4. There was a mention to set my pump to waste. I don't think I have that option with a cartridge filter?
    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    1. tests------you can stir it up with a brush and a straw broom then test it but it will not be as good a test with the pump running but it might give you an idea of what you need to buy.

    2. You can put some bleach in now. Just make sure to stir and mix it in good with the above tools.

    3.Muratic acid? We use that to lower the PH. It will not clear the algae. Bleach will.

    4. I forgot you had a cartridge filter. I THINK there is a way to do it. Do search and see if you can find it. I will look at the same time.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Hi cartege,

    No need to feel overwhelmed. We're here to help you the best we can. Ok? So, take a deep breath and try to relax as much as you can. This is all going to be a bit of work, but will end up just fine. It will take a bit of time, it took time to get all that algae and it will just take time to clear it up. No reason you cant be swimming by July 4. None at all.

    When you start the SLAM, you have to hit it and hit it very hard the 1st 3 or 4 days. You will need to MAINTAIN slam level FC until your water is crystal clear. If you dont keep the FC at SLAM level, then it will take longer to clear it up. S, that means testing as often as every couple of hours if at all possible, and adding bleach. It going to eat up a lot of bleach, so dont freak out when you see your FC taking a nose dive often. Thats acually a good thing, it means bleach is killing the algae. OK?

    do the tests when your water is at the correct level and the pump has been running for 30 minutes or so. Thats the easiest and best way.
    For slamming, you need your CYA level at about 30. It its a bit higher thats ok, just use the FC SLAM for whatever the CYA is. If its lower, then add enough CYA to get you to 30ppm.

    To add cya, pour the granules into an old sock, tie the end closed and put the sock full of CYA in your skimmer. Squeeze the sock every now and then to help the dissolving CYA escape. Dont worry about testing for CYA after you put it in. It can take as long as a week for it to show up on your test.

    After that, adjust your pH to 7.2. Use muriatic acid to lower pH, use either Borax or Washing SODA to raise pH.

    After you have adjusted pH, wait 30 minutes, then add the bleach.

    Tell your husband that muriatic acid does not kill algae. Chlorine does. putting a LOT of MA in the pool will send your pH into a nose dive, so dont do it.

    Cartridge filters do not have a recirculate option on them. The only way to do that, and bypass the filter would be to do some plumbing work.

    We recommend to clean the filter when it reaches 20-25% above the 'clean' pressure.

    I hope this helps a bit. Please post up more questions if you have them. Below are links you will need to help you know what your levels should be, and how to determine how much of something to add, and how to slam.

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    Quote Originally Posted by carterje View Post
    I'm overwhelmed. New questions:
    1. Do the tests BEFORE I turn on the pump? (The water still isn't high enough)
    2. When do you put the bleach in? Now, before the water reaches the appropriate level or after it's full?
    3. My husband asks why not use muratic to clear it?
    4. There was a mention to set my pump to waste. I don't think I have that option with a cartridge filter?
    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: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Two things....
    1- You are going to look like a genius. Just follow all advice and ask questions.
    2- I can't believe I'm saying this...don't listen to your husband. His advice (or anyone besides at TFP) will way confuse you and mess up the process.
    Have a little fun too with your upcoming success!!
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    I've got some numbers!


    PH: The closest match was 6.8 which is the lowest one, but I hesitate it saying 6.8 because the colors weren't exact
    FC: 0
    CC: 0
    TA: 90
    CH: 475
    CYA: The black dot stayed visible the whole time


    I plugged this in to PoolMath and it says I only need 142oz of bleach which shocked me. 92 oz of washing soda (not sure what that is) or soda ash OR 182 oz of borax and 91 oz of stabilizer.


    The pump is now on and running and the pool looks worse than ever.
    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim View Post
    Two things....
    1- You are going to look like a genius. Just follow all advice and ask questions.
    2- I can't believe I'm saying this...don't listen to your husband. His advice (or anyone besides at TFP) will way confuse you and mess up the process.
    Have a little fun too with your upcoming success!!
    I love looking like a genius and I'll admit that pretending to be a chemist today was a bit fun! As for the hubs - I'm not listening to him, lol. His inability to do this the last 2 years is the reason I've inherited the project! Let the clear pool begin!!
    27' round AG pool, 48" high, 17,100 gallons
    120 Sq ft. SwimPro Cartridge Filter, A.O.Smith pump
    SmartClean Pool Kleen Robotic Pool Cleaner

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    April's Avatar
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    Re: HELP - 1st time pool owner and NO IDEA where to start! (pics)

    Washing soda is beside the borax in the laundry isle.

    My husband thought I was nuts when I started using stuff from the grocery store. Then he seen how the water sparkles and no burning eyes in the pool and he tells everyone about my pool methods. Lol
    18ft Round AG, Vinyl, 100LB Pentair Sand Filter, 1HP, June 2012, TF-100 w/SpeedStir

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