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Thread: Newby...help for very old pool

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    Newby...help for very old pool

    Hi all--My siblings and I recently inherited my Dad's property. He hadn't cared for the pool at all for at least the last 7-8 years. It was black and swampy, with its very own salamanders and even it's own bullfrog (named Bud). We are now starting the huge project of trying to get it swimmable again. It's a very old (built in 1959 by Paddock Pools) outdoor in-ground gunite pool, 20x40. We have drained it. We had to get a pump truck to suck out the deep black sludge in the bottom (we saved as many of the salamanders as we could first). We have power-washed it. The walls and shallow end came out really quite well with the power wash, but the area underneath the black sludge (most of the deep end) is still pretty black. The first time the pool was drained (many, many years ago by my Dad, in November, in rainy Vancouver), it floated and rose up about 6'. So although we've had great weather here recently, and very little rain, we decided to be cautious and, on the same day it was drained and the sludge removed, we had a water truck deliver 3,000 gallons. So that's what's in it currently. The 3,000 gallons covers the black stained area. I've got lots of questions:
    -Any suggestions as to how to get rid of the black staining?
    -The skimmer is a real mess of rust. I'm pretty sure it has never been replaced. Can anyone suggest a brand and model to replace it that would be good for this type of pool? How do I figure out what I would type or size I would need? Is it a job that a handy person could do on their own, or would it be better to get a pro?
    -Would having only 3,000 gallons in it effect the ability of the pump to function? The pump doesn't seem to be working very well. It might need a new pump as well. (I don't have the pump and filter info yet, but will add it as soon as I get it. My Dad was a wee bit on the cheap side, so I suspect that the pump might be undersized.) Any suggestions for a replacement pump (brand, etc.) would be great.
    Any other suggestions, thoughts or comments would be most welcome! It really is an overwhelming task, but we would love to get this grand old pool back to sparkling blue like it was in the old days.
    40,000 gallon in-ground outdoor pool, 20x40, plaster, built in 1959 by Paddock Pools

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Newby...help for very old pool

    Hi, welcome to TFP! The dark stain should lift in time after exposure to chlorine. Is there a main drain in the deep end you can isolate from the skimmer? The pump needs water to run without burning up the motor, so if it is pulling from the exposed skimmer and getting alot of air in the plumbing system that will cause problems for your pump. If there is not a valve that isolates the main drain from the skimmer you will either need to plug the skimmer or not run the pump until the pool is filled. You can add bleach to the water and brush the walls and floor of the pool to mix it well without the pump running.

    If you need to replace the skimmer it will need to be chipped out of the concrete and a new one set in its place. I don't know if your old skimmer was a standard size or not. In this case I would have someone come look at it and give you an estimate.

    I would go ahead and finish filling up the pool so you can get a better idea of how the pump and filter are working and if your plumbing has any leaks.

    Please post pictures of the pool and equipment area. We would love to see how your project progresses and pictures will help us answer your questions.
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    Re: Newby...help for very old pool

    Thanks for your quick response and your kind welcome.

    There is a main drain in the deep end. We have tried isolating it from the skimmer, but it still doesn't seem to be sucking very well. Currently we have the pump turned off. How much chlorine would you recommend we add to 3,000 gallons? And should we add it all at once? Is there any advantage/disadvantage to using pool chlorine v. regular household bleach? Or are they pretty much the same thing?

    The reason why we haven't finished filling it yet is because we thought it might be more effective to try to treat the stained area while we have the smaller amount of water.

    I will definitely post pictures, as soon as I figure out how to do it!
    40,000 gallon in-ground outdoor pool, 20x40, plaster, built in 1959 by Paddock Pools

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    Re: Newby...help for very old pool

    40,000 gallon in-ground outdoor pool, 20x40, plaster, built in 1959 by Paddock Pools

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Newby...help for very old pool

    That is a cool old pool!

    Liquid chlorine and bleach are the same ingredients with different percentages of sodium hypochlorite.

    I think that I would probably fill the pool and SLAM it. If the pump turns on then it probably works. Pump definitely needs to be working to SLAM the pool.

    First, get a Taylor 2006 test kit.
    Second, read the process a few times, Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    Third, fill the pool and test the water
    Fourth, adjust PH to 7.2, add 30ppm CYA in a sock in the skimmer
    Fifth, SLAM the pool

    A little chemistry for you to review here:
    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals
    Pool School - Recommended Levels
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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Newby...help for very old pool

    Wow! This will be one heck of a "before & after" project for sure. I see you haven't received any more replies since we first encountered our server problems, so I thought I'd chime-in as well. Yes, regular liquid bleach will work fine, and in most cases is cheaper. It can be a generic brand. If you read the ingredients, it should say "Sodium Hypochlorite". It will be rated probably at 8.25%, but some are 6%, 10%, or 12.5%. Since you are filling-up your pool, the amount of gallons may change over the next few days. I would suggest you use the Poolmath calculator (link below) to determine how much bleach to add. Just enter yoru current pool volume (gallons) at the top of the calculator, then enter a "NOW" and "TARGET" number.

    As for the poor suction, have you looked at this page: Pool School - Suction Side Air Leaks
    Some people find this very helpful. Others should reply soon with suggestions about pump size and skimmer repair if needed. In the meantime, also consider reviewing the links below in my signature to assist you in overall pool (water) care. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
    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: Newby...help for very old pool

    I am a newbie to this as well and I am also starting up a pool that has sat for several years and had about 6 " of sludge and leaves and sticks on the bottom of it. This is my 3rd week, I spent 2 weeks with local pool store advice that was not quite so good. 1 week with this site and I have very clear water and my chemistry is coming into line nicely I believe. My only problem is; I still have scattered spots of back in the deep end, which I believe to be black algae and they are fading slowly, I just started slamming yesterday. So there is hope and at the beginning I was very leery of this project and even had some thoughts of getting rid of the pool but that is not cheap either and the property is really set up around this pool. So be patient do not give up and educate yourself. I also highly recommend getting TF-100 Test kit.

    The reason that I really am commenting though is before you believe what a pool store tells you really educate yourself and understand your system. Here is my experience to emphasize that. During my second week of this project while water was still very bad but clearing just a little we could see black dirty water coming out of return during and after vacuuming. Had pool store guy come out and was he told me he thought I had a break in my under ground return lines which would mean tearing up concrete and digging to replace the line. This would cost thousands of $$$$. I started researching found this site and thought I would open up my vari-flo valve to see if it was spider gasket (pool guy said gasket was good because valve turned easy). Sure enough the gasket was bad, I ordered a replacement for top half of valve as spider gasket is integral with the valve, it cost me $53 from amazon. Time was 15 min to take valve apart and after I got the part (2 days) 15 min to replace. It did however take me several hours of research here to learn. Still problem was not solved so I got pool store to replace sand and when he opened up the tank top of the lateral was broken and it all made sense what the problem was. It cost me $500 from the pool store but he did spend several hours and a lot of that answering questions and educating me on my plumbing system. I do not mind paying for education and he did a good job and spent more time educating me than fixing the part. But I could have dug a little deeper on this forum and fixed it myself in about an hour and $100 of parts ($40 laterals, $60 sand). So moral of the story, if you get a pool store to help you, get a second opinion and bring it here to be sure the diagnosis is correct, it could save you thousands of dollars.
    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: Newby...help for very old pool

    Are you sure that when the pool floated 6 inches years ago it didn't snap of bunch of the underground pipe? 6 inches is a lot of movement.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    Re: Newby...help for very old pool

    I don't think Victoria is sure of very much at this point since she has "Newby" in title, however, I would not be quick to jump to conclusions of what is wrong with the pool until a lot more info is obtained. My 1st question would be after the pool floated the 1st time, did her Dad use it after that and did she know of any problems he had after that. If a problem is found discuss it on the forum and place much more emphasis on the experts (not a newbie like me) but even then it has to make sense after you know your system and are very familiar with how it works. It would be a shame to spend thousands of $ only to find out it was not correct. For instance, after pool guy told me he thought I had broken pipe and need to excavate the whole thing for repair. It did not make sense that water ran clear about 3 hours after vacuuming. If it was broken then dirt should come through most of time. I also drained about 2/3rds of pool water which in retrospect was a gamble I think I got away with and I am not sure was not the more expensive option. As Divin Dave says "Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!"
    Keep your head up Victoria and really learn how your system works and get several opinions and quotes on how to fix it.
    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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