Warning . .. long post for full disclosure.
Ugh ... Where to start. A brief history I guess. We bought the house last spring - I'm a first time pool owner. The prior owner was in way over her head and had no clue what she was doing. She relied on a "pool guy" to maintain order, but she also rented the house, so needless to say the equipment and the pool in general were poorly maintained. Last year, I joined TPF and the information here got me through the first season. Biggest job was replacing the suction side plumbing as it consisted of flex hose from skimmer to pump - a large portion of which lay exposed above ground. It was like a sprinkler it was so full of holes. No wonder the former tenant warned us the pool seemed to lose excessive amounts of water. Anyway, I fixed that. I live in the Hudson Valley, NY, we have harsh winters and the ground freezes. I replaced the suction side with flex hose that runs underground to the pool house and then sch. 40 hard pvc pipe for the section above ground to the pump. After replacement there were no leaks on the suction side, but we still lost water. I figured it must be evaporation as the pool gets full sun most of the day - UNTIL, I found a frog living in a washed out section of earth right above the return underneath the patio stone. That was late in the season, and I didn't have time to deal with it until this spring. Otherwise, the pump/filter/multi-port seemed to work fine and we got through the short first season.
This year I was determined to get rid of the leaks before anything else. Dug up the return line (which was old black poly) and sure enough there was a 4" crack right at the elbow before the return outlet - which also leaked. Replaced that with flex again for the below ground portion mating with hard Sch. 40 pvc for the above ground section. Finally no leaks!!!
So last weekend, I was finally ready to open and start the SLAM process - or so I thought. Opening late of course meant starting with dark green water. A fairly significant algae bloom. CYA readings were less than 30 - and I assumed zero. Even though I added stabilizer in a sock near the return, I have not been able to get CYA readings. Plus, yesterday morning I ran out of reagent - waiting for replacement to arrive in the mail - so I've been shocking at around 12-14 ppm given my assumption of low CYA. I've had to backwash three times and add water once. So I know that even though I put in CYA in the pool, some has been lost. To make matters worse, I ran out of FAS-DPD 8071 on Sunday - replacements on the way - so I had to resort to using OTO and keeping the yellow at about school-bus yellow to light orange range. Yes, I know it's guess work, but without testing reagents atm what else can I do? Ph has been stable at 7.2-7.4. TA has been around 50-60ppm. I have a vinyl pool so haven't been testing for Cal. Hardness except for the initial test which had it around 70ppm.
So I know all about the SLAM process, I've read pool school several times. I know how to use pool math, etc., That is not why I'm here. I ask in advance that folks please not direct me to provide accurate test numbers, and read SLAM. I have. I can't provide test results beyond what I just did until I receive the reagents in the mail. Today, perhaps if I'm lucky. As I type I am continuing the SLAM process as best as I can until the reagents arrive and I can resume accurate testing.
Anyway, having a DE filter that has been running continuously since very early Saturday morning, I expected the water to clear much more quickly. It is still cloudy. This morning I could "make out" rather than "see" the deepest part of the pool for the first time. So some progress is being made. But here's the problem: I know that DE/dirt is getting into the pool from the return. I used the robot for a bit and vacuumed the pool and clearly found DE and dirt. After the last backwash I saw a huge plume of dirty water shooting into the pool from the return. ALso, this morning - 12 hours since the last backwash - I held a sock over the return for 30 seconds, and it collected a significant amount of DE/debris - even small bits of leaves. The Hayward 4800 I have is the old kind with the metal clamp - circa 2006. The clamp is precarious, so tearing the filter down is risky. But I understand I may not have a choice. Clean pressure is about 10.5 psi, and I've been backwashing at 16/17 psi - though I think I should start doing it sooner - perhaps as soon as 13/14 psi?
I know my multiport is on it's last legs - see this thread - Time for a New Multi-Port Valve/Spider Gasket? .
But I did replace the gasket - so at least that is brand new. I suspect that the missing plastic inside the multi-port may be the problem here. When I backwash I get 0 pressure as well, which another post here indicated that may be a spider gasket/multi-port problem. I opened the pump this morning and the impeller had a leaf or two in there, but didn't seem to be clogged. I did my best to remove what little debris was there. But would that have a bearing on this issue? The water is clearing, but slowly. But the filter is clearly not working properly and DE/dirt is returning to the pool as if the filter isn't working.
I wonder if I am not backwashing correctly? I have some photos to illustrate some of the above. But I won't be able to share those until this evening.
It frustrates me that I'm dealing with the neglect of the prior owner. Part of me wants to just get new everything so I can set it up and maintain it properly. But I don't have $$$ for a whole new set up, and it would be nice to squeeze what life remains out of the equipment we have before we make that investment. Even if I just replace the mutliport that is going to require new plumbing in the pool house which will throw a wrench in the SLAM process. Not the end of the world, but I was really hoping to get through the slam and have clear water before I had to tear everything down for 24 hours.
Any help would be so appreciated! Thanks in advance.