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Thread: I'm Stumped

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    I'm Stumped

    Being a newbie to pools, I don't know what normal cleaning maintenance for a pool results should be, if dirt should show up after a brushing etc. I can't figure out why our pool is still so dirty.

    Our water is crystal clear, until I brush the pool or run the robot. After that it is cloudy and I have to run the filter overnight to get it clear again. When I brush the sides of the pool, a brown dust-like cloud comes up - also in areas of the floor of the pool (you can't always see it until you brush it up). It seems to accumulate in the same areas (near the steps, under the returns and along the bottom where the shallow end starts to go deep) The dust/dirt has be present even after running the robot through 2 cycles (6 hours) in the same day. The filters on the robot are usually filled with a sand like dirt. I have run the robot 6 (in 2 weeks) or so times and I brush the pool about every other day (if we want to swim) if not daily. There are areas in the pool, once the pool water is clear, that look like dirt has settled. It goes away after a cleaning but then is back usually the next day.

    I have been maintaining my FC (4) for my CYA (25-30). I have increased my CH to 250 since it's a gunite/plaster pool. PH, and Alkalinity are all good. CC is at 0 and the overnight test was a .5 loss this morning (I tested in a shady spot since the sun was just starting to get to the pool). So I pass all the requirements not to SLAM. So, if I don't have an algae issue then what is all this stuff? I know Divin Dave said the pool could just still be this dirty still from the SLAM, but even with all this cleaning the walls are getting it back. I brushed twice today, once in the morning and just a bit ago tonight, as the dust/dirt was coming off again (I also ran the robot twice today).

    Any ideas or experience with this?
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Just saying hello to a fellow Cecil county resident! I tend to get dirt/dust in the same spots.

    Looking forward to reading the responses.
    20,000 gallon IG gunnite pool. Hayward DE filter. built 2004. more info to come.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Hi Mickey,
    is there any construction anywhere near you where dust and dirt might get blown in? When you slammed, did you run the pump 24/7?

    Do you have a main drain that is open or can be opened to help?
    How long are you running your pump each day now?

    Just trying to think what might be going on.
    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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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Look around at the patio furniture and the windowsills and any parked cars nearby and see if they're covered with anything similar.

    That's one of the big problems with FTP. Your water is so clear you can spot a grain of sand on the floor of the pool from twenty feet away. Generally immediately after you've put away the vacuum.
    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: I'm Stumped

    I will bet you have living algae in your pool. The FC you have kills some, but not all, and the dead algae settles to the floor and the living algae continues. The cycle repeats over and over and we see it over and over on this forum.

    If it's dirt, you can pick it up, If you can't pick it up between your thumb and forefinger it is almost surely algae.

    Despite your previous test results, you have never properly cleared your pool.

    I would suggest your SLAM your pool correctly......keeping your FC at SLAM value until ALL signs of algae (including the dead stuff) are gone from your pool.

    Don't play patty cake with your issue. SLAM it exactly as the article describes and you will have no issues.

    Let the FC drift down during the SLAM and the SLAM is a failure. Let the FC dip too low for even maintenance values and your work is for nothing. The algae will come back.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: I'm Stumped

    (Dave, I could be wrong, but I vaguely recall MickeyB being a very conscientious new-slammer recovering an extremely swampy pool from a thread a little while back...which doesn't necessarily mean your hunch is incorrect either... but it could be pollen, debris, sand etc. too )

    Mickey, in such extreme conditions, its possible that low level algae is coming back/lurking in the system, but depending on filter type and environmental conditions, its also possible there are other things to look into. Do the OCL test for another night or two to confirm you're in the clear. If you didn't clean behind the light during your slam, check that too.

    That said, Other possibilities:

    Can you add information about your filter to your signature? If its a sand filter, have a read on this, especially after a swamp recovery: Deep Cleaning a Sand Filter

    If its sand, and you get a high load of dirt and debris, you will also need to make sure you're backwashing any time its 25% above clean pressure. If its DE, you want to make sure there's no holes in the grids.

    So does the water from your returns seem clear?

    Environmental possibilities - given my own configuration with a very close terrace and high volume of nearby trees, wildlife, etc. etc., I get a very heavy load of debris at certain (nearly all) times of years.

    In my case, I run my filter 24/7, with a pool skim on the south return, and now a skim doctor in my skimmer, both of which increase "pick up" of everything than lands on the water before it gets to my floor and starts decomposing. In addition, I run my M4 supreme dolphin pretty much daily. I also run my FC higher than my CYA calls for, (my min. is 1 ppm higher) and I dose to assume a 50% consumption rate (although its usually a bit less than that...it depends on just how many caterpillars etc. drop into the water on a given day.)

    That's what it takes to keep this particular pool clean

    Your pool may require much less intervention, but a little experimentation will help you find what works for you.

    Reducing filter run times to save electricity is a very popular notion on TFP, but I think there are cases/environments where filtering s truly your best friend. So as an experiment, run the filter for a few days 24/7 and see if that keeps things more clear. Then experiment downward to find the intersection of your happy place and your wallet

    Hope that helps. Feel free to post up a pic...might give us a better sense of what it is
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Hi Tdeuce22! We are closer to Rising Sun than Elkton - small world!

    There is no construction nearby (farms and other houses) and I don't notice any coating on any cars or trees. We do have a lot of trees and bushes around the pool. We have 2 drains and both are open (the deep end less than the other), but we have a side suction issue (the gate valves are leaking) that my husband hasn't had time to fix yet (he works a lot). We have it balanced to the point that there is no air blowing into the pool now. I run the pump for 6-8 hours a day and then longer if I did any cleaning. Yesterday, I changed the return angle to blow down instead of up to help with the water circulation. Yes, I ran the filter 24 hours during the SLAM.

    Here is my thread from my slam duraleigh: New House came with a neglected pool - SLAM DONE!! I was under the impression that I was done then and I didn't read anything that stated that the slam wasn't over till the dead algae was removed from the pool. I was having issues with the manual vacuum and the suction, so I got as much out with that as I could afterwards and then ordered the robot since the pool seemed clean (last picture). Since the pool is so worn, I wasn't sure if the pool itself was crumbling into the pool since a lot of the dirt was around the waterline where there is rough plaster, but then it is also lower on the walls and on the floor of the pool.

    I had this reply ready to go last night and then my internet dropped out - this morning the overnight test didn't pass. Looks like I will be SLAMing again. So...to make sure I understand completely, I do not end the slam until all of the dead algae is out of the pool? Even if I meet the 3 criteria? I let the filter run all night and the was is clear again already. Guessing I won't need 50 gallons of bleach this time.
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Only two possibilities to me. Filtration or algae. When brushed, algae look like dusts.

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Over the years, we have watched members very frequently stop the SLAM short. The resulting frustration leads to confusion and in some cases, giving up.

    I am in the middle of proposing to our group that our three criteria (criterium?) for ending the SLAM be..

    1. Your pool water is sparkling and there is no visible algae (dead or alive)
    2. Your CC's are .5ppm or less
    3. You can hold your FC overnight without losing more than 1ppm.

    The confusion comes when people have very clear water but leave debris on the pool floor. Dead or alive, that debris is an indicator that algae has or will reappear at the drop of a hat and the SLAM has to be resumed. It is even possible to pass the OCLT with visible debris, so SLAMmers, anxious to stop dumping $$ in chlorine and go swimming, stop short by not thoroughly cleaning their pools. It doesn't work.

    I haven't read your other thread yet but I would add that rough pool walls make it very difficult for the chlorine to do it's work. Just like butter hides in the nooks and crannies of Thomas English Muffins (Mmmmm!), algae hides in all your rough spots and evades chlorine very successfully. If your pool is still very rough, a good maintenence practice for you would be to hold you chlorine maybe 50% higher than normal and make it a regimen to brush daily.

    Surely, you would not need 50 gallons of bleach.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Thank you everyone and Swampwoman (I didn't see your post this morning)! I look forward to the day that the pool gets a nice re-do! I thought the rough walls might be an issue. I will get to SLAMing again and brush as much as I can. I will clean the filter out again too. Gotta get some more DE and Bleach. I will try finding a balance with the filter and the chlorine afterwards. FC is generally at a 5 sometimes a 6 because I'm so anal about it not dropping below 4. I did feel like I was having to add chlorine a lot though, so I think that question was answered within all of this.

    I brushed this morning and there is less coming off. There also isn't a lot of noticeable stuff on the bottom. The filter is still running and I added extra FC (not shock level yet) this morning till I can get back from a party this afternoon and get more bleach.

    The pool robot manual says not to run it in FC levels higher than 4 (which my target was so it was run in slightly higher FC) - is this important not to do, or is it ok to run it during the SLAM? I'm concerned that I won't get much suction with the manual vacuum again, but I haven't tried it in a few weeks.

    If this is a common issue (dead algae remaining after the slam), the criteria should be clarified. Especially for us newbies! I knew nothing when I started this adventure!
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    It's fine to run your Robot in a SLAM. I would not leave it overnight but a couple of hours will not hurt anything.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Your pool water is sparkling and there is no visible algae (dead or alive)
    I think the "dead or alive" emphasis and the "including the floor" might help a lot, Dave. "Zero" cloudiness might be another useful phrase. If mickeyb missed it I'm sure others do too, because she was quick to get the "race" notion of sLAM so I suspect she's a good reader

    Cheers to clear, Mickey
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
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    Re: I'm Stumped

    If the dusts deposit quite uniformly, they are algae. If there are aggregated lumps in certain regions, they are dusts or dead algae. Just my experiences.

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Thank you everyone! OK, good to know about the robot. I will use it then. Getting ready to start tonight and my husband is going to work on getting the valves taken care of.

    Thanks Swampwoman! Yes from a complete newbie perspective - all minuscule details are good. I know to from when I did the first slam that using the calculator was confusing. You used it to bring your level up to the SLAM target, but then it would drop below as the time went by, it wasn't till I aimed higher than the target that I was able to get things in check better. I've read other thread where people had issues with the same thing. It seems like a simple, common knowledge thing, but with absolutely no pool experience, I didn't know. This time I will aim higher so it stays above where it needs to be.

    I get both. It seems to be on the walls uniformly, but there are clumps/lumps on the walls where it is darker and takes more to scrub off.
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Then you need to keep SLAM. Dusts usually deposit in stagnated regions, not everywhere.

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Thank you budalb, your clarification is helpful. I see now that we had this issue for a while. The pool was full of the dead algae when I stopped the first SLAM - lessons learned.

    My husband is power washing around the pool and coping and inside the pool along the rough area and as far down as he can go in the water. We tried scrubbing that area in the water by hand, but it was a lot of work - so the power washer is making it an easier job. FC has been holding since this morning even despite it being sunny and hotter here today. So far I've only had to add 3 bottles of bleach. FC did go down a little overnight, but we are still at 0 CC's. When I scrub the walls and floor there is a lot less coming up and there was some dead algae along the floor this morning, but nothing like before. We have been working on it all morning and now the robot is in doing it's thing. I was able to get the manual vacuum to work for a bit even. This will be one clean pool! I will keep the FC level's a little higher than target after this SLAM since that rough edge along the top of the walls seemed to be harboring a lot of the green stuff - it was hard to see with all the variation in color in that area. The worn areas in the pool also make it difficult to tell where anything is algae/dirt wise - so I just scrub everything. It will be nice to know that the pool will be issue free in time for our daughter's birthday party in 2 weeks.
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Still SLAMing but the pool is clear and the CC's are still 0. Didn't pass the overnight test this morning, but I went to take a picture of what was in the robot's filter and there was barely anything in it! I ran it twice today. While I brush, I don't see much of that brown cloudiness coming up. I'm not seeing anything coming off the walls and only a little from the floor.

    Will I get the point where when I brush I won't see anything as I am brushing? Is brushing more of a preventative or will I see dirt or whatnot when I brush after the algae is gone? I'm sorry for the newbie questions, but I want to make sure I understand everything and do it correctly.

    When I run the robot now, the water stays clear. Do I keep cleaning the pool for the SLAM till I can't see any dead algae collecting on the bottom, robot's filter is clean after running, until I'm not brushing up anything, all of these?
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Passed the overnight test last night, no CC's and the pool is Crystal clear. I see very little to nothing when I brush and the robot's filter barely has anything in it once a 3 hour cleaning is done. Cleaning the pool no longer leaves it cloudy. Am I officially done with this SLAM now? How do I know if the pool is clean enough to be done?
    1978 Sylvan IG Gunite pool (around 18,000 gallon)
    Hayward Vari-Flo DE Filter and 3/4 HP Super Pump - installed in 1991
    TF-100XL with speed stir Dolphin Nautilus Pool Cleaner (2015)

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    drop a quarter in the deep end. can you tell heads from tails? can you read the date?
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: I'm Stumped

    Quote Originally Posted by pabeader View Post
    drop a quarter in the deep end. can you tell heads from tails? can you read the date?
    LOL, I cant read the date on a quarter if it's on the kitchen floor in front of me!!

    I do the heads or tails test with a nickel.

    Dom
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