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Thread: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

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    Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Bought a house that has a pool was told the liner had only one season but then a few seasons of disuse and cover was not put on until at least 1 winter without cover. Yes, what a mess, well to make a long story short after an expensive 2 weeks I think I am ready to start the slamming process tomorrow when my test kit arrives. I am inpatient and today had pool store run water test, results:
    TC = .6
    FC = .6
    ph =7.7
    TA= 65
    CH =75
    CYA = undetermined (said could not calculate because ph and TA out of range)

    I see in slam instructions ph needs to be between 7.2 an 7.5. But I do not see range for TA before I start slam. I thought I read a thread that instructed a person to adjust both in preparation for slam and the pool store said both need to be adjusted to calculate CYA. Is this true or should I just lower ph. If both, can I add both acid and Baking Soda at same time or do I have to add one then wait several hours before adding the other. Will TF 100 test kit read CYA if TA not in a certain range. It should also be noted that during my expensive 2 week, long story I emptied out two thirds of pool water and refilled so CYA may be very low. Previous owners did however use an in line chlorinator and puck dispenser (actually 2 dispensers are here), so there should be some CYA.

    PS. Great site, after we bought this house I was reading about all the ill affects chlorine has on health and how you should put a whole house carbon water filter in your main water line so you would not absorb chlorine through your skin. If I read Chem Geek correctly chlorine is not absorbed through the skin. He is very knowledgeable and documents his references frequently to support his position. I was thinking about filling the pool in until I read a lot of his posts. If Richard has any time to comment on chlorine being absorbed through skin and ingestion of chlorinated (non filtered) water as a health hazard I would be very interested. He is this sites greatest asset, not that everyone else isn't, but very impressed with his knowledge and stick to the facts approach. I just do not know where he finds all the time to type this, let alone research it. Thank you everyone for your time and willingness help.
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Welcome to TFP! Please take all pool store advice with a grain of salt. The CYA stuff is total baloney. The TF100 kit will test CYA without issues. Getting the test kit in hand will be your first big step. DO NOT listen to the pool store. The folks here know exactly what they are talking about and that is the advice you should take.
    39YO 13K gallon former SWAMP/MONEY PIT, concrete bottom/Fiberglass Walls, Ecotech VS pump, Hayward Sand Filter, Dolphin DX5 Plus, Loop-Loc safety cover and YES, I have a TFT-100 test kit!

    Shock Level and Maintain - CL/CYA Chart

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    I assume the pool store's ph and TA test are reasonably accurate, although I know what happens when I assume. But I would like to get at least the PH and if needed the TA to start the slam process in the range and add the Acid and baking soda if I need to adjust TA before starting slam. Do I need the TA to be in a certain range to start the slam and would the pool store ph be off that much?
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    I would not trust any pool store result...ever. Adjust you pH down to 7.2 with Muratic acid and don't bother with the TA. You can tweak other parameters later. The CYA is a different story, as you need this value to properly maintain the correct shock level of Free Chlorine.
    39YO 13K gallon former SWAMP/MONEY PIT, concrete bottom/Fiberglass Walls, Ecotech VS pump, Hayward Sand Filter, Dolphin DX5 Plus, Loop-Loc safety cover and YES, I have a TFT-100 test kit!

    Shock Level and Maintain - CL/CYA Chart

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Thank you very much, I will add acid per PoolMath tonight, so when test kit arrives tomorrow I can test CYA and FC as well as everything else and get started on slam process.
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Great! It will also make things go faster by getting as much organic material out of the pool by netting out as much organic debris as possible. Please post a full test series when you get your TF100 (pH, CYA, FC, CC, TA, CH). The CYA test can be a little tricky but you can always pour the mixture back into the squirt bottle, re-shake and test again.
    39YO 13K gallon former SWAMP/MONEY PIT, concrete bottom/Fiberglass Walls, Ecotech VS pump, Hayward Sand Filter, Dolphin DX5 Plus, Loop-Loc safety cover and YES, I have a TFT-100 test kit!

    Shock Level and Maintain - CL/CYA Chart

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Welcome to TFP! Congrats on the new pool.

    Yes, the TF100 will read CYA regardless of other levels. You might want to add a couple of gallons a day of bleach to your pool to help the SLAM. Also, scoop out everything you can with a leaf rake.

    Pool store tests and test strips are equally unreliable.
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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Quote Originally Posted by Pool Amateur View Post
    PS. Great site, after we bought this house I was reading about all the ill affects chlorine has on health and how you should put a whole house carbon water filter in your main water line so you would not absorb chlorine through your skin. If I read Chem Geek correctly chlorine is not absorbed through the skin. He is very knowledgeable and documents his references frequently to support his position. I was thinking about filling the pool in until I read a lot of his posts. If Richard has any time to comment on chlorine being absorbed through skin and ingestion of chlorinated (non filtered) water as a health hazard I would be very interested. He is this sites greatest asset, not that everyone else isn't, but very impressed with his knowledge and stick to the facts approach. I just do not know where he finds all the time to type this, let alone research it. Thank you everyone for your time and willingness help.
    Chlorine and Skin
    Chlorine does react with skin and does so fast enough that very little gets through more deeply to be absorbed. So I wouldn't say that chlorine is not absorbed through the skin so much as chlorine reacts with ammonia and other organics in sweat and skin such that chlorine itself does not penetrate deeply. The issue is never about chlorine itself anyway, but rather the disinfection by-products from chlorine, so some of those chlorinated organics. The same is true for drinking water with chlorine. The issue is not the chlorine itself, but rather the chlorinated organics and by the time the drinking water reaches your stomach, it is no longer chlorine but instead chlorine reacting with your saliva and organics.

    Chlorine Disinfection By-Products
    So for the downsides of chlorine the best threads to read would be Asthma and Chlorinated Pools which basically concludes that there isn't a linkage except possibly in the most heavily used pools with professional swimmers and New Chlorine Scare that I start with my post in that thread where here the correlations are more legitimate but again show that the problems are primarily related to high bather load and higher chlorine levels (no CYA used) and higher bromide levels (brominated organics worse than chlorinated ones) and even then they aren't that strong. This latter point regarding bromine is also discussed at length in the thread The forgotten alternative sanitizer for pools and spas... where someone was promoting iodine instead of chlorine or bromine yet that is the worst halogen by far if one is to choose among the three. I will say that there have been poorly run commercial/public high bather-load pools including many used for swim meets and other competition that have been a problem for swimmers, but it doesn't have to be that way and not all such pools operate poorly (in general, Europe does a far better job in this area than the U.S.). A fairly detailed summary of chlorine health risks mostly from a drinking water perspective is in the document Environmental Health Criteria 216 "Disinfectants and Disinfectant By-Products" and the conclusions are the following:

    Epidemiological studies have not identified an increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with chlorinated or chloraminated drinking-water. Studies of other disinfectants have not been conducted.
    The epidemiological evidence is insufficient to support a causal relationship between bladder cancer and long-term exposure to chlorinated drinking-water,THMs, chloroform or other THM species. The epidemiological evidence is inconclusive and equivocal for an association between colon cancer and long-term exposure to chlorinated drinking-water, THMs, chloroform or other THM species. The information is insufficient to allow an evaluation of the observed risks for rectal cancer and risks for other cancers observed in single analytical studies.
    Studies have considered exposures to chlorinated drinking-water, THMs or THM species and various adverse outcomes of pregnancy. A scientific panel recently convened by the US Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the epidemiological studies and concluded that the results of currently published studies do not provide convincing evidence that chlorinated water or THMs cause adverse pregnancy outcomes.
    Chlorine in the Home
    The risk of chlorine exposure in terms of health problems is very low, but there may be some individuals who are more sensitive to certain chemicals so if one wants to minimize exposure then one certainly has a rational reason to do that. For drinking water, it is trivial by using a carbon block filter such as from Multi-Pure though in practice most people aren't drinking most of their water from the tap. As for showers, that is more of a challenge due to the hotter water since a carbon filter won't work in that situation so what is done there is to use a reducing agent in a shower filter. The reason a shower might be more of an issue is that if it's hot and steamy than you are breathing in more chlorine or chloramine (depending on what your water district is using) so you can create chlorinated organics in lung tissue so closer to getting them into the bloodstream compared to their creation in skin or in the stomach where acidic conditions may destroy some of them. Again, overall risk is very low, but if you wanted to focus on something then that would be the most relevant with regard to tap water. You could use a whole house filter if you wanted to, but that's obviously a lot more expensive.

    Chlorine in Pools -- CYA makes all the difference
    The main difference with the chlorine in pools managed in the way this forum describes is that there is Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water that significantly cuts down the active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) level by literally more than an order of magnitude -- about a factor of 10 or more compared to pools with no CYA. The active chlorine level in pools at the levels recommended on this forum are equivalent to less than 0.1 ppm FC with no CYA. The chlorine bound to CYA does not absorb through the skin (see this paper) nor does it react with it as quickly as chlorine -- it reacts no faster than 1/150th the rate (see this paper). So skin reaction or absorption in pools with CYA is almost a non-issue, but it's not zero as is obvious by the fact that one can smell chloramines on the skin if one is sweaty, but the reaction with organics in the skin is indeed very slow compared to pools with no CYA. The CYA doesn't help with regard to ingestion of pool water since the chlorine is released from CYA as it gets used up, but one does not ingest very much pool water -- certainly no where near the quarts of water one consumes each day (including that in food). As for volatile organics, the bather load in most residential pools is so low that these are negligible and in outdoor pools the UV in sunlight keeps some of these very low due to direct destruction (such as with dichloramine) or preventing their formation in the first place (such as destruction by hydroxyl radicals formed when chlorine breaks down from the UV in sunlight). There is also usually wind to carry away volatiles near the surface, especially as compared to indoor pools.

    Chlorine in Spas
    Probably the larger risk is with residential spas since the bather load is far higher there. Most people start their soak with a lower level of chlorine so that it isn't as noticeable and in practice that results mostly soaking with monochloramine that doesn't react to produce nearly as many disinfection by-products. Also, CYA is used so again the direct action of chlorine during soaking is minimized. So the issue is more what happens after one doses with chlorine after a soak where the disinfection by-products are then formed. The volatile ones can be outgassed if one opens up the spa and runs jets to air it out before getting in, but there will still be remnants of these chemicals plus the non-volatile ones left in the water. These will build up until the next water change. This is still low risk, but on the spectrum of risk it's higher than in residential pools because of the higher bather-load and the hotter water that volatizes more and the skin is more porous at hotter temperatures as well. Some alternatives to reduce this low risk are to use an ozonator that will oxidize more of the bather waste or to use some (not only, since it's not a disinfectant) non-chlorine shock (MPS) though it isn't a great oxidizer for some things (like ammonia or monochloramine) or use some enzymes. If one wants a non-halogen system, then Nature2 with its silver ions and used with MPS is an EPA-approved disinfectant combination for spas, but usually requires some chlorine usage once a week or so to keep the water clear.

    Relative Risk
    One should have some perspective on the kind of risks we are talking about in terms of disinfection by-product exposure. Roughly speaking even in the high bather-load pools of the Barcelona studies we are talking about lifetime cancer risk increases in the 1 in 50,000 or lower range if one were to swim every day. The EPA targets roughly 1 in 1,000,000 for their drinking water contaminant goals. The lifetime risk in outdoor residential pools will be lower than the Barcelona pools so probably somewhere in between the 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 1 million range. The risk in spas might be closer to the Barcelona numbers or possibly higher than that worst case, but still probably not any higher than 1 in 10,000 and that would be a stretch since no studies show anything approaching that level. To put all of this in perspective, the overall cancer incidence (not death) rate is roughly 1 in 220 each year with a lifetime risk of roughly 40% (i.e. 1 in 2.5). If one really wants to try and avoid cancer, there are a lot of areas in one's life one can look at long before worrying about drinking water, showering/bathing, or swimming especially since the latter with exercise helps improve health and reduce disease risk substantially more than any increase from use of chlorine, most especially in outdoor residential pools.

    To give you an idea of what we do at home, we have a Multi-Pure filter on a separate tap water line in the kitchen and use Britta portable water containers elsewhere such as in the bathroom. I say "we", but it's really for my wife and not so much for any health reason as for the fact that she doesn't like the taste of the water unless it is filtered. We don't have anything on the shower heads nor any whole house filter and I use chlorine in our pool with CYA where my wife swims nearly every single day for swim therapy.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Thank you very much chem geek for the real science. What I read was recommending (selling) a carbon filter in the main water line to get the chlorine out as soon as it entered the house so it was out before distribution to the hot water, then a system to filter, remineralize (with good minerals), and separate into alkaline water for drinking and acid water for cleaning. The big reason for the carbon filter so when it reached the shower you would not absorb it into skin. It was their contention that chlorine was easily absorbed through the skin and then caused health problems. When reading it seemed to make sense but not enough data to support their theory for me to spend that kind of money, but really gave me pause about a chlorine pool, I was searching for alternative methods to sanitize pool when I ran across thread The forgotten alternative sanitizer for pools and spas... His argument sounded good until Chem geek explained the flaws in his logic and the science.

    jaduck and pooldv, thank you for your response and as part of the fun and lightening my wallet by a pool store my water is almost clear some algae stains still are there and black but slowly changing to clear and disappearing. Pool store had me dumping 5 gal bleach (12.5% concentration) every other day, no testing said when it starts to clear some to start testing I believe I have added 40 gallons since the start 2 weeks ago. Luckily the pool store sells 5 gals of 12.5% chlorine for $15, that has been the cheap part of this long story. Leaf rake did not work for debris. Bent them up as leaves plus sludge too much and could only get a little at time, water would fill rake bag make it real heavy and bend rake. What did work was an old fishing net that had 2' wide mouth and 3' long opening and a large mesh netting, the net size probably 2" squares. It allowed the water and sludge through and trapped the leaves and sticks, luckily it was on a 3 foot telescoping pole that adapted to the 16 ' long pool pole. When done I had a 6' long 3' wide and 2' high pile of partially decayed compacted leaves come out that way. Then as leaves became sparse and filter started getting sludge and lots of backwash and vacuum to waste and adding water to pool, it started to clear. I can see bottom now but think it is time to test and convert to TFP system. I like science rather than feel. I was really looking for an alternative to chlorine and thought maybe a salt system would be a chlorine free option, imagine my disappointment when I found out salt is also a chlorine system but with Chem Geek's explanation of the science I feel much more at ease and being able to adjust chemistry to not have kids running around with green hair and red eye's is a real plus. I know several Dr.'s who have extolled the benefits of their salt water systems to get rid of the "health hazards and side affects" of chlorine. I do not think they will take it so well when I tell them they still have a chlorine system.
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Since we don't really know what your cya level is yet, who knows what the proper fc is...but at least the pool store is having you use liquid chlorine, they could have just as easily sent you off with tricolor and continue to raise your cya.
    17.4k gallon IG pool with attached spa (spa itself is 730gal), Super Blue Diamondbrite plaster, Circupool SI-45+ SWG, BH/Hayward Cartridge Filter, 2hp 2speed Hayward Super II pump, , Jandy Valves, Waterway Skimmers, Rheem 400k Heater, Polaris 360 cleaner, built 2000+-, replastered June 2015, TF-100 kit---Here's my pool test reading history

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Well you should ALWAYS question whatever anyone tells you when they have a financial interest in selling you a product (and you did, which is what brought you here). It's not that they were lying. Chlorine does create disinfection by-products and some of the by-products formed on the skin can penetrate the skin or in a shower you can breathe in chlorine to create them in your lungs. It's just a matter of the degree of risk. Believe me, if the risks were as high as the salesmen were implying, it would show up in all kinds of epidemiological studies as well as mutagenic studies, but it either doesn't or is at such a low level as to be hard to discern. Nearly everything you do in life involves risks so one must choose one's risk-reduction battles carefully unless you're wealthy enough to spend money on items of little value.

    Chlorine is one of the most effective chemicals in killing pathogenic microorganisms and also kills algae as well. If you wanted to lower the chlorine level in the pool, you can do that at extra cost by using other methods to inhibit algae growth such as using a phosphate remover or a weekly algaecide such as Polyquat 60 and then operate the pool at a lower FC/CYA level than we recommend here.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Thanks again Chem Geek, I will have to look into that further but before that I will look into the claims that chlorine is as bad of a problem as some say. I have been told for years that the bloodshot eyes and green hair from being in chlorine pool was because of the chlorine. Only to find out that it is not true. Also was told salt water pools were an alternative to chlorinated pools by Dr.s who probably got that info from pool salesman rather than factual data. Good to have someone like you on forum.
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Ok having difficulty getting on site because of the problems with the site, but I am sure it will be fixed soon and with new server better than ever. I received my testing kit, here are my present results.

    FC= .5 Was 3 last night I did not get to test in AM tonight .5 so I lost 2.5 in 24 hours at low CYA without chlorinator running
    CC= <.5
    ph= 7.2-7.5 The color darker than 7.2 not as dark as 7.5 closer match to 7.2
    TA= 70 - 80 Again 7th drop almost all color gone 8th drop water totally clear
    CH= 250
    CYA= I think 20 maybe less, Not exactly sure my reading skills are that accurate as this is new test to me, as I test more with increasing CYA levels I am sure I will learn more about this

    Tonight I left filter running with Rainbow 320 filled with 1" trichlor tabs, In am I will try and get reading to calibrate the amount it delivers (I am not yet living at the house as it is a new purchase and having some work done before we move in, so sometimes my schedule does not allow me to be there 3 X a day). I know I need to raise my CYA but I sure do not want to overshoot, I put 5lbs of CYA in 24 hours ago filter ran 12 hours so all CYA may not be dissolved, I have read several opinions on here that vary from 24 hrs to week for CYA reading to stabilize. Any definitive word on that. The trichlore tabs will also bring CYA up slowly but I probably want to add some more. I am trying to set up for slam and the Chlorinator should help me keep my FC levels up during the day if I can only be there early in AM and then in evening.

    My questions are am I ready for slam or do I need further tweaking before I start?
    How long does CYA take to accurately read after application using sock in skimmer method of adding?

    Pool water Clarity very good, believe It could pass the "quarter" test but haven't actually thrown the quarter in, I never thought it would look so clear. Still some algae spot on deep end but improving a little every day.
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    You are ready to SLAM. CYA varies by brand, sock squeezing, water circulation, etc. Assume that what you added is in yhere and set your chlorine shock level accordingly. Chlorine CYA Chart
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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Thanks pooldv, by the way love your pool pics I saw in another thread, I will be asking you about your solar set up in another topic in the not to distant future. I also loved the Quote in Divin Dave's signature "Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!" That really has hit home in the wallet on this project.
    Ok, Started the slam, added the 1.5 gal 12.5% to bring chlorine up to 10 as per poolmath, overshot to 14 (second time I overshot, also did it bringing down ph so I believe the volume of water in pool is less than calculated, probably error in selecting average depth as well as the corners of my rectangle are slightly rounded, I am going to adjust my gals to 28,000K) but no big deal I turned chlorinator to "0" yesterday morning after the over shoot and sure enough last night chlorine went down to 11.5 (10 is the goal for 20 CYA). This am with chlorinator set at "0" the chlorine level back up to 14. So I figure either chlorinator at "0" still is dispensing chlorine or I did not wait long enough after adding chlorine for it to mix well enough to give me a correct reading. I have left chlorinator setting at "0" and will test tonight and tomorrow morning to see if I can differentiate.
    My questions are:
    Am I doing this right?
    I am thinking of bringing the CYA level to 40, I still want to use chlorinator for convenience of slowly adding chlorine till I get to CYA = 50. I am hoping that will be end of season then I can decide on a chlorine pump for next year or switch to SWG. That will give me time to learn without spending a lot of money. I did enough of that already. I plan on raising CYA level in 2 steps. First to 30 today then when stable (wait a few days) to 40, then by Sept. with chlorinator to 50. Does this sound like a good plan or is there a flaw in my logic?

    The pool looks really good except for these black dots scattered around the deep end. I believe them to be black algae. they are slowly fading and when I sweep them, I can see a small cloud of dust come off the 1st 2-3 strokes. So I believe they are black algae, but I read black algae should not grow in vinyl pools, but this pool had a the entire floor covered with several inches of leaves and sat there 3-5 years (history from different sources conflict). Does this seem to be sound logic or am I missing something? Also, is it safe to swim in pool at these levels of chlorine and theses scattered dots of what I believe to be black algae?
    28,000 gals (20 x 40), IG, vinyl, Hayward Sand Filter, old Hayward
    Super pump (not sure of HP secondary to corrosion of label),

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    Re: Old Pool, New Owner, who never had a pool before

    Since it moves when you brush it, could just be dead algae...time will tell
    17.4k gallon IG pool with attached spa (spa itself is 730gal), Super Blue Diamondbrite plaster, Circupool SI-45+ SWG, BH/Hayward Cartridge Filter, 2hp 2speed Hayward Super II pump, , Jandy Valves, Waterway Skimmers, Rheem 400k Heater, Polaris 360 cleaner, built 2000+-, replastered June 2015, TF-100 kit---Here's my pool test reading history

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