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Thread: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

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    New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    My husband I purchased a home in February that came with a pool. We have never owned a pool before. It is a 33' above ground pool. 19,500 gallons. Vinyl liner . Clear water II Cartridge Filter. We have spent almost 3 weeks trying to clear it (putting I don't even know how many gallons of chlorine in) and cannot get it to clear no matter what the pool store tells us to do. We have been told we have a chlorine lock. The pool is a cloudy turquoise color. When we took the winter cover off there was a hole in it. We have cleaned the filter a couple times. Vacuumed the pool to try to get it as debris free as possible.

    These are the levels we have as of just a few hours ago:

    FC .1
    CC .1
    pH 6.9
    TA 104
    CH 129 (I think?? The TH is 194)
    CYA 53

    I looked up the SLAM method and came up with a FC shock level of 20 or 24 but I don’t know exactly what that means or how to get there.

    In short: Help me.

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Welcome! And we can help......! First, where did you get your test results? If from the pool store, they are likely useless.

    So, we might need to start with getting reliable figures. With those in hand we know what to do. Without good test results, doing anything is just a shot in the dark.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I agree with the above. You need to invest in one of the Recommended Test Kits and forget about the pool store that is in business to make money.

    After you get your test kit, then we can get you started on following the ShockLevelAndMAINTAIN Process.

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these so that we can speak the same language:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    yes, 53 is an oddly specific CYA number. and the FC tests are in .2 increments at the least. So, these are store computer results.
    I will say, if your CYA is anywhere near 53 +/- like 20, you don't have what they describe as chlorine lock. But...it may be much higher than that.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Thanks for the quick responses! Any recommendations on which of the recommended test kits to order for a first time pool owner such as myself?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    They are in the link I provided.
    The TF-100 from tftestkits.net is the best value ... add either the XL option or the SpeedStir to get free shipping.

    Please add your pool details to your signature as described HERE as it will help us help you.
    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: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Thank you for the suggestion. I ordered the TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir. Seemed like a lot of money for a test, but I am beyond tired of going to the pool store every other day and buying chemicals that aren't doing anything, so if it helps get me some accurate readings and some helpful advice it will be all worth it. Hopefully I get the test soon. Stand by for results. Thanks again!!!
    19,500 gallon, 33’ above ground, Vinyl liner. Chlorine
    Pump: 1.5 HP 2-Speed 3450/1725 RPM, 115 volts Above Ground Pool Pump - Waterway brand
    Filter: Waterway Clear water II Cartridge Filter
    Heater: Hayward H150FDN Low NOx Natural Gas Heater
    Test: TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    While you wait do the hardest part of this whole thing. Forget everything you know about swimming pool maintenance! (Well mostly everything) It is all garbage.

    Read all the articles jblizzle gave to you a few posts up, then read them all 5 more times. Keep reading until you thoroughly understand them and never have to go back to the pool store again!
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    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    I'm back! I got my test kit (it was like Christmas!).

    Here are my results.

    FC 0
    PH 7.2
    CH 300
    TA 150
    CYA 30

    So I don't even know where to begin. From reading Pool School (and Pool Math), I think I need to get my pH up first before SLAM'ing. Borax? How long after adding Borax do I need to wait to start the SLAM?
    According to the Chlorine / CYA Chart my shock FC level should be 12. And I'll need enough chlorine for about 3 times this amount when SLAM'ing (but not all at once)?
    19,500 gallon, 33’ above ground, Vinyl liner. Chlorine
    Pump: 1.5 HP 2-Speed 3450/1725 RPM, 115 volts Above Ground Pool Pump - Waterway brand
    Filter: Waterway Clear water II Cartridge Filter
    Heater: Hayward H150FDN Low NOx Natural Gas Heater
    Test: TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    your pH is right where it should be for a SLAM, and don't worry about Borax for now. When you're all done, it's an optional addition. The TA will need to come down eventually, but with your CYA at 30 at pH at 7.2 you are in good shape for the slam.

    Using the pool math calculator, put 0 in the current FC level, and 12 in the target column, and it will tell you how much chlorine to add to get to 12. After you slowly add this around the pool, let it churn for an hour and then check the FC level again. If it is below 12, use the calculator again to figure out how much more CL to add to get back up over 12. Repeat repeat repeat. Always testing to make sure it doesn't drop below 12, and adding CL throughout the day to keep it above 12, until you pass the criteria.


    Keep the pump running 24/7, and brush a few times a day at least.
    Re-read the SLAM instructions, but that's the basics.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
    Hayward DE filter, 2HP Ecostar VSP, ProLogic PS-4, GVA actuators
    Cal Pools Wave Force Plus (wall return jets plus 2 floor pop-ups), Venturi Skimmer
    Water sheer, 2 wok pots, bubbler stem on the baja step
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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Congrats on the arrival! Now let's get to work .... prepare to SLAM by doing the following:
    - Adjust PH to 7.2 - 7.5; don’t worry about it after that during the SLAM
    - Ideal CYA should be 30; the higher the CYA, the more bleach required
    - Have a good amount of “regular” liquid bleach on-hand to keep your FC high at all times

    Then SLAM - “Shock” our pool to a higher “Level” of Free Chlorine (FC) and “Maintain” it that way until 3 objectives are met:
    1. Water is clear
    2. You do not lose any more than 1ppm of FC overnight (that's the OCLT)
    3. CC (Combined Chlorine) is <.5
    ** You MUST meet ALL 3 items above to properly do a SLAM. Simply “spiking" the FC higher than normal isn't SLAMming, therefore there’s a good chance your algae will return.

    Use the Chlorine/CYA chart (link in my sig) to bring your FC up to the proper SLAM level rating based on your current CYA and make sure it stays there (MAINTAIN) until you meet ALL 3 criteria listed above! That may take just a few days or even a week or two! That is absolutely critical for success.

    At the same time, continue to run your pump 24/7. Remove any “muck” and debris, scrub all parts of your pool to expose any algae, and vacuum/clean (or backwash) filter as necessary. You may have to do this several times. It's a lot of babysitting, but with patience and consistency, you will succeed.
    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
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Thank you for the responses! So according to Pool Math for my size pool, I would want to add 239 oz of 12.5% bleach to go from 0 FC to 12 FC. I would pour this SLOWLY into the pool and then wait an hour and check the FC level. If for example the FC level was 1 then I would want to recalculate my chlorine addition to go from 1 to 12, correct?

    Is there an optimal time of day to begin a SLAM? I would hate to start adding bleach and then lose all progress throughout the night.


    2. You do not lose any more than 1ppm of FC overnight (that's the OCLT)
    Is this calculation based on once I get the FC level to hold at 12?

    Do I then need to let the FC come down to 4 naturally before swimming? How long does this usually take?

    Just curious, but once I am done SLAM'ing and the pool comes back down to a 4, how often ideally would bleach need to be added? I know I'll have to check everyday but would I be adding everyday?
    I would be curious to hear how much everyone spends to open a pool and maintain it all summer. It's actually quite embarrassing how much money I have spent at the pool store this year with no results.
    19,500 gallon, 33’ above ground, Vinyl liner. Chlorine
    Pump: 1.5 HP 2-Speed 3450/1725 RPM, 115 volts Above Ground Pool Pump - Waterway brand
    Filter: Waterway Clear water II Cartridge Filter
    Heater: Hayward H150FDN Low NOx Natural Gas Heater
    Test: TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabjo24 View Post
    Thank you for the responses! So according to Pool Math for my size pool, I would want to add 239 oz of 12.5% bleach to go from 0 FC to 12 FC. I would pour this SLOWLY into the pool and then wait an hour and check the FC level. If for example the FC level was 1 then I would want to recalculate my chlorine addition to go from 1 to 12, correct?

    Is there an optimal time of day to begin a SLAM? I would hate to start adding bleach and then lose all progress throughout the night.


    2. You do not lose any more than 1ppm of FC overnight (that's the OCLT)
    Is this calculation based on once I get the FC level to hold at 12?

    Do I then need to let the FC come down to 4 naturally before swimming? How long does this usually take?

    Just curious, but once I am done SLAM'ing and the pool comes back down to a 4, how often ideally would bleach need to be added? I know I'll have to check everyday but would I be adding everyday?
    I would be curious to hear how much everyone spends to open a pool and maintain it all summer. It's actually quite embarrassing how much money I have spent at the pool store this year with no results.
    -hopefully your FC level doesn't drop from 12 to 1 in an hour, but yes that's the idea.

    -Since you will lose the most FC at the beginning, I'd say start in the morning of a day you can babysit the pool. Shoot for 14 or 15 before you go to bed to lessen the chance of it dropping over night.

    -for the OCLT, your FC will never really "hold" at 12. It will constantly fall due to organics and sunlight. Even in a "perfect" pool. You'd do your last dose of the night, overshoot a bit to say 14, and then come back out an hour later and get a reading. Don't add any more CL though. Then in the morning before sun comes out, preferably, do another FC test. If you lost less than 1.0 ppm FC then you've passed that criteria. Still need to pass the other two.

    You can safely swim at or below the SLAM level, but you are likely to experience the typical chlorine side effect of poorly maintained pools like green hair and degraded fabric. Certainly, shower off afterward.

    After you've passed all three, let your CL drift down, should only take a day or two. Recheck your CYA level (and your pH), and use pool math to find what you minimum FC level is. You will need to add chlorine EVERY DAY to keep the FC level above the minimum. You will lose FC every day, so you will need to add every day. As you go through the seasons with some regular testing you'll get an idea of how much you lose, and how much you add every day. I just do testing once a week to make sure I didn't drift more than expected. For my 11k gallon pool in full AZ summer sun, with a CYA around 40, I add 32 oz a day. in the winter that dropped to like 16 oz.

    So, all told, in the summer, a gallon (of 10%) every four days. Two gallons is like $7. So $7 a week in the summer. $84 dollars for the 3-month peak. I might like to keep a one-year log of bleach purchases to get an actual number though, that's a good idea. Just so when your friends tell you they just spent $300 at the pool store, you can tell them what you spent.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
    Hayward DE filter, 2HP Ecostar VSP, ProLogic PS-4, GVA actuators
    Cal Pools Wave Force Plus (wall return jets plus 2 floor pop-ups), Venturi Skimmer
    Water sheer, 2 wok pots, bubbler stem on the baja step
    ColorLogic Mutlicolor LED lamp. Taylor 2006+speed stir

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Correct
    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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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    So today at 1:30pm I got the FC up to 12. The CC is 1.5. How does that CC come down? The water is clear, but is it as crystal clear as I think it should be? No.

    I am not sure what comes next since I got the FC level up to 12?
    19,500 gallon, 33’ above ground, Vinyl liner. Chlorine
    Pump: 1.5 HP 2-Speed 3450/1725 RPM, 115 volts Above Ground Pool Pump - Waterway brand
    Filter: Waterway Clear water II Cartridge Filter
    Heater: Hayward H150FDN Low NOx Natural Gas Heater
    Test: TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Is 12 your shock level based on your CYA? If so then keep it there until all three creiteria are met. Test and adjust multiple time a day. brush the pool at least once a day.

    You are looking for


    • CC is 0.5 or lower;

    • You pass an OCLT (ie overnight FC loss test shows a loss of 1.0 ppm or less);

    • The water is clear.


    When all three are true, you are done SLAMing and can allow the FC to drift down to normal levels.
    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: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    So I finally passed all three this morning. So now I let my FC drift down to 4 and maintain it from there? I also checked my pH and TA this morning too. pH is still 7.2 and TA is still at 150. Should I be adjusting these at all? Should I wait to check it again until the FC drops down to 4.

    Just out of curiosity, do most people add bleach to their pool every day? When is the most optimal time of day to check your levels and maintain them?
    19,500 gallon, 33’ above ground, Vinyl liner. Chlorine
    Pump: 1.5 HP 2-Speed 3450/1725 RPM, 115 volts Above Ground Pool Pump - Waterway brand
    Filter: Waterway Clear water II Cartridge Filter
    Heater: Hayward H150FDN Low NOx Natural Gas Heater
    Test: TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Congrats!

    PH is ok at 7.2. The high TA might cause your PH to tend to rise. If it does rise add Muriatic acid when it gets 7.8 to lower it back to 7.2. This will slowly lower your TA. If your PH remains stable anywhere between 7.28 and 7.8 then be happy!

    Some add daily, some every other day, some add a Stnner pump or liquidator, others convert to SWG. The general consensus seems to be to test and add in the evening. But, it doesn't really matter a lot. What is important is to never let the chlorine level drop below the minimum level for your CYA, Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Cannot get pool to clear

    Consistency is more important than time on when to add chlorine. Find a time of day that you can and will remember to do it everyday. Pretty soon it will be like brushing your teeth.

    If all times were ideal though for you, evening is best. Then you can see how much your FC dropped during the day and bring it up to prepare for tomorrow.
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