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Thread: The more I read, the dumber I feel

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    Chairman Meow's Avatar
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    The more I read, the dumber I feel

    My story begins with a broken pool pump motor six months ago. A number of unfortunate events conspired to keep us from getting it repaired or replaced, so for the last 5 months or so, we've been incubating tadpoles and mosquitoes in our backyard. Lovely.

    Two weeks ago my saint of a FIL spent his weekend trying to first repair and then eventually replacing our entire pool pump. Then we started what I'd like to call, THE GREAT CHLORINATION! For the first few days, we were adding 4 2.5 gallon jugs of 12.5% chlorine per day, just to try and kill the algae and the tadpoles. (My daughter is still calling me a frog murderer) After about a week of adding chlorine, skimming, scooping, sweeping and obsessively rinsing the filter, the pool finally turned (mostly) blue. And that is when I made my first mistake. I took a sample of my pool water to the pool store.

    I KNOW, I KNOW!!! What a dumb move!!!

    These are the numbers that they gave me last Saturday:

    FAC 0
    TAC 0
    CH 90
    CYA 0
    TA 50
    PH 7.4

    $259 poorer, I came home and commenced their complicated and confusing series of chemical additions (7lb 11oz of Alkalinity Up, 22lb of Hardness Plus, 3lb 9oz of stabilizer, 4oz of clarifier, and something for weekly adding once the pool was clear "in a few days" .) On Monday my husband took another sample back to the store and they said our water was balanced and that we should start adding Clear Aid to clear the water up. So he came home, followed the directions on the bottle and poured it into the water. By the time I came home, it had foamed up and created these really yucky filmy gross patches on the surface (and there was a dead rodent of some sort floating in the pool, but I'm pretty sure THAT part wasn't the fault of the pool store... but EW!!!!!!) And that is when I Googled my way to TFP.com.

    First thing I did was order my TF100 - then I started reading obsessively, and trying to figure out what was what on my pool and how to fix it - I feel dumber now than I did when I started... at least before I didn't know what I didn't know! After all the reading I replaced the following things: Almost all of the O-rings in the filter housing, the PSI gauge (which was broken), the cartridge filter (which was at least 4 years old) and our pool brush and leaf net (which were falling apart.) I was hoping that a new cartridge would help us maintain PSI within 25% of the starting pressure, but so far we can only go about an hour in between filter cleanings before the pressure goes from 7 to 12. It's pretty frustrating.

    So after stepping up the vacuuming, scrubbing and cartridge rinsing, we can now ALMOST see the bottom of the shallow end, and the cartridge isn't nearly as green when we clean it post-vacuuming. Today my TF100 arrived and these are my 1st testing numbers (I'm not 100% sure I did it right, so I plan on retesting tomorrow.)

    FC - 18.5
    CC - 2
    CH - 575
    TA - 140
    CYA - 70
    PH - 7.2

    Do these numbers look right?

    Due to water restrictions, draining almost 50% of the pool and refilling to lower the CYA is impossible - so according to the Chlorine/CYA Chart with a CYA of 70 I need a FC of 28 to SLAM the pool - but the Pool Calculator says 20. I thought it would be better to follow the Chlorine/CYA chart, so I added 3 quarts and 1 cup of Chlorine to the pool tonight and will be heading to pick up more Chlorine tomorrow so that I can maintain SLAM levels until I lower the CC to .5, pass the OCLT and clear up the water.

    I have more questions and will be posting pictures to illustrate my questions (which have to do with plumbing and pump/filter size and return jets and my skimmer... but for now I really, really just want to pool to be clear enough to see the bottom and to swim in. (After the rodent, there is NO WAY I'm getting in the pool until I can see the bottom!!!)


    If you've made it to the end of this, THANK YOU, I appreciate any advice or guidance you could offer me. This forum is going to be a lifesaver, I can tell already!
    11K gal, IG plaster, screened in, circa 1982, Hayward CX800RE cartridge filter, 1HP Doheny pool pump, north-west exposure with partial morning shade and full afternoon sun, testing with TF100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Numbers look pretty good. The PH test is not valid when FC is above 10, so skip it. While slamming all you need to test is FC and CC.

    Yes, definitely use the ch/cya chart and 28 is the right number.

    Yes, algae clogs up cartridge filters fast. But, as you've seen, it is getting better and will continue to get better.

    Keep testing and adding back to shock level 3 or 4 times a day if you can. Brushing and scooping debris also speeds the process and reduces chlorine usage.

    Everything sounds pretty good from here. You are doing the right things and making progress. It will get better soon.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Welcome to TFP!

    I also learned the hard way not to trust the pool stores. The TFPC method has brought me so much more enjoyment from my pool.

    Stay on it & you'll beat that algae.

    Dom
    Dom - TFP Guide
    Intex 18' X 48" Ultra Frame AGP 6700 gallons | Two Intex CS8110 SWG's | Hayward Pro Series 21" Sandfilter | Hayward 1.5HP Power Flo Matrix pump | Hayward Thru-wall Skimmer | Wanda the Whale | 72 sq ft of Sungrabber Solar Panels with Hayward GLC-2P-A | Taylor K2006 Test Kit, Sample Sizer & Speed Stir | Click Here To Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Defgufman's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Welcome aboard
    Inground 13,200 gal Vinyl, Pentair 3/4 hp pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter, Polaris 280

    Pool School, Pool Math, CYA to FC ratio chart, Testing Kits

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Welcome to the forum!

    While 70 cya is high for a SLAM process, it's do-able. What part of Florida is that where there are water restrictions? Just a curiosity on my part, but you really don't have much water volume to dilute in half. Are you sure you can't drain at least some?
    TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    I have been waiting to you to post!

    Another Florida person! Oh yeah!

    LOVE the name! Cute pic to go with it!

    You are doing SO much right already! Doing all of the smart things to take care of your pool-good test kit, reading, following what you have read and doing it!

    Yeah your filter is doing it's job but man it makes it hard when it clogs up so fast! Here are a couple of ideas for when you can babysit the pool.

    -skimmer sock (knee highs) to prefilter the water. But you will have to keep an eye on it.

    -Use your old filter after you have sprayed it clean. That way you can rotate the two filters so you do not have to turn off the pump except to change the filters.

    -Take a pic of your steps/stairs every day. This helps all of use see the progress! Use photobucket to share them. We LOVE pics!

    Keep asking questions!

    Oh and keep an eye on the date code on the bleach. We just had a member buy some bleach from a home improvement store that was from 2013 and it had lost must of it's punch. Luckily she was able to get her money back. Now if you are getting it from Walmart it should be fine as they have a high turn over.

    HUGS! I can't wait to see your pool!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    I read your OP all the way through, and while I have nothing to add beyond the advice above, I'll just say, Awesome, for not giving up and for reading and figuring it all out. You'll have a clear pool before long by following the advice here.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Chairman Meow's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Thanks to you all for the welcome and advice. I got up this morning, rinsed the filter and checked the chlorine level (this time I used my SpeedStir -BEST THING EVER) and my FC had dropped from 18.5 to 15. *grumble*

    Last night, after I tested the FC and calculated for my SLAM FC level, I added the recommended amount, but I didn't re-test to see if the FC rose to the SLAM level. Obviously that is something I should do... once again... I feel dumb.

    This morning I recalculated to get from 15 to 28 and then dumped a little more than a gallon into the pool. I didn't have time to retest before I had to go to work, so I'll check again when I get home this afternoon and boost if needed and then test again and boost again at the end of the day (and test to make sure it comes up to the proper level.

    If I've read correctly - I need to wait about an hour between adding the chlorine and testing? Can someone confirm that for me?

    Patrick - they aren't the usual county or municipality restrictions against water usage, but rathger restrictions of our over-zealous home-owners association and the golf course we live on in regards to water dumping.

    Our property backs up directly onto the fairway, and we are prohibited from pumping our pool water onto the course. Unfortunately, we are also in a flood plain and have poor drainage, so our HOA by-laws allow fines to be issued if you pump water into your yard and it encroaches into your neighbor's yard or the street (and they do take great pleasure in issuing those fines.) If we hadn't gotten so much rain lately, I would chance it, but my yard is already saturated almost to the point of swampiness - so I really need to try and get this done without trying to figure out the logistics of where to put 4k gallons of water. If I find that maintaining the 28ppm is untenable, then I may have to pump some out in the middle of the night and hope everyone thinks we just had really heavy overnight rains.

    Kim - Thanks for the incredibly warm welcome, reading your earlier response to my other comment made me even more eager to get my "HELP" post completed - it made me feel all warm and fuzzy to think that there were people out there who was so enthusiastic about helping me!!! The avatar is Mr. Ruffles - but we call him Chairman Meow (among eleventy billion other nicknames.) He's the oldest of our three tuxedo cats.

    As for the knee highs in the skimmer - do I simply stretch them over the top of the skimmer basket and let the rest 'dangle' into the basket (kind of like a garbage bag in a garbage can?) And do I do that just in the side skimmer or also in the pump basket?

    Unfortunately my husband (in an effort to be helpful) already tossed our previous cartridge out - but I'm thinking of purchasing another one anyway - because about a 1/4 of the pleating on this new cartridge has come loose from the binding and is just flapping around. In my mind that is making it less effective, but I'd love to hear what others think.

    I'll take pictures of my stairs and pool when I get home and post them later tonight. Luckily, out of date bleach is the one thing I DON'T have to worry about - hubby works part time at ACE and refills our jugs from their holding tank (which gets refilled a few times a week) so at the very least I have fresh chlorine going for me.
    11K gal, IG plaster, screened in, circa 1982, Hayward CX800RE cartridge filter, 1HP Doheny pool pump, north-west exposure with partial morning shade and full afternoon sun, testing with TF100

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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    I have a cartridge filter also. Actually mine has 4 of them in there! I have read, here and elsewhere, that loose pleats isn't the end of the world. Just make sure that the binding isn't going to come off and get stuck somewhere inside the rest of the filter. I've even seen people use plastic wire ties to hold the pleats together. My old cartridges had about 50% missing binding, and I never noticed it being less effective. In fact, it seemed like those pleats had MORE stuff in them.

    Never a bad idea to have a spare though. Especially when SLAMming!

    Sock goes in the skimmer for most people, your description is correct. There is a slight possibility that with it in the pump basket, it could get really blocked up and the the pump would run dry which is not a good thing.
    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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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Please do not feel dumb for not knowing this stuff. NONE of us knew any of it before coming here and doing just like you are doing-reading, asking questions, following directions. This is a HUGE learning curve for sure! There is SO much to learn and do.

    Keep asking ANYTHING no matter how small. NO question is too small as it might be THE answer you need to finish your pool.

    Going from 18 to 15.5 overnight is not that big a deal during a SLAM! There have been pools that eat the bleach as soon as it is poured into the pool! OUCH!

    Sometimes the pool store or even the manufacturer does not have the correct amount of gals listed for a pool. No big deal. Go measure your pool's WATER depth. Not how high the walls are. Put your measurements into Pool Math and see how many gals. it says. Here is the link to pool math.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    You can test as soon as 30 mins. after adding stuff. Make sure the pump is on.

    When I had a cart. filter the binding came loose but it did not affect the cleaning.

    ACE Hardware! That is where I get my chlorine from. They are "just up the road". The people that work there are the best or they do not last long! They love my dog and always have a treat for him.

    Emptying pool water. Hummmmmmmmmm Any way you could figure out a way to drain it into your drain for a sink or washing machine????? Just trying to find a way to lower you CYA to make your life a little easier.

    Testing and adding while working
    -morning when you get up
    -when you get home
    -dinner time
    -right before bed

    That gives you 4 times! The more you test and add to get to SLAM level the fast it will get done!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    if you are allowed to sprinkle the lawn. maybe rig up a sprinkler on a submersible pump?
    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: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Welcome aboard! You're in good hands here. I started with a beautiful (but unsafe...) emerald green pool with great big sheets of foam, and after discovering TFP have sparkling blue water -- better than I ever had when I followed the pool STORE's "advice."

    Here's what worked best for me with my plaster pool during my SLAM:

    Pick an FC target 1 or 2 ppm higher than the Chlorine/CYA Chart recommends and use that as your Target in PoolMath.

    Then, if PoolMath calls for, say, 1.2 jugs of bleach, round up to the next jug. This way you ensure you are actually staying at or above your Shock Level, rather than getting to shock level and immediately dropping below it.

    The 'Maintain' part of the SLAM was always the hardest for me. Once I realized that (after a week of SLAMing), my SLAM went much more smoothly and my pool started making dramatic improvements each day.

    Please note: The good folks here at TFP are more knowledgeable and have given more advice than I have. Just because it worked for me doesn't necessarily mean they will recommend you do what I did. If anyone else says this isn't advisable, please ignore my input on this issue.
    25,000 gallon freeform gunnite/plaster, built in the 1970s/80s; Sta-Rite 9463004 575-lb. sand filter; Sta-Rite DuraGlas/Max-E-Glas (P2RA5F-125L) single-speed 1.5 HP pump, manufactured 12/1993 (1M93M).
    Helpful links: TFTestKits; Pool School; ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry; Chlorine/CYA Chart; PoolMath; SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

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    Chairman Meow's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    It's been a LONG day, but here's a quick update before bed.

    FC is up to 30 but I can't get CC below 2 - is this just a patience thing?

    Saw HEAVY rain in the forecast for today - so when it started, I dumped some water (to just under the skimmer) hoping that it would just blend in with the rain. Ended up raining so hard and for so long that it practically filled the pool back up. Good news is that my CYA is down to 60 (I'm almost convinced I can still see the dot at 50, but I'm going to hold the FC at levels relative to the 60 CYA and see what happens.

    Vacuumed twice today and cleaned the filter about once an hour between 2pm and 8pm. Still can't get the PSI to hold at starting pressure for longer than about 10 minutes. It starts at 7.5 and shoots right to 15 where it will hold steady for hours. I put the skimmer sock (knee-hi) in the skimmer basket and it caught some particles, but didn't do a thing to keep the PSI down.

    Is it possible that I'm missing something and this is unrelated to the filter getting dirty? Because it doesn't matter if the filter is almost totally green, or if it's only a little dingy at the ends - the pressure goes up at the same rate and stops at the same place.

    Anyway - here are some pictures I caught before the rain started:



    Shallow end steps - 2nd step is more visible in person and the 3rd step is just barely visible.





    Whole pool... and Oreo





    "Deep" end bench seat (it's only about 5 feet at it's deepest point)





    From this angle it almost looks done. *sigh*
    11K gal, IG plaster, screened in, circa 1982, Hayward CX800RE cartridge filter, 1HP Doheny pool pump, north-west exposure with partial morning shade and full afternoon sun, testing with TF100

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Time and bleach are your friends.

    As you can see it is clearing. Keep taking a pic a day of your steps. That is the best thing for you to see that it IS working. Your eyes will not see a difference just looking at it each day BUT taking a pic and looking at them side by side you will be able to see the slight changes in color and clarity.

    Give Oreo a hug for me. Has he ever fallen in? We have a ramp in our pool for just in case as it is an above ground pool that does not have the nice steps you have.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Just wanted to stop in and say Welcome!

    Kim is giving you good advice, just stick with it. Florida is the land of plentiful and usually inexpensive liquid chlorine - lucky you! My first visit to the pool store in South Carolina I asked where the liquid chlorine was. Without missing a beat the store manager just looked at me and said, "you must be from Florida", we don't sell that here - it's illegal. She pointed me to expensive powder & pucks but I said no thanks and started my search that lead me to TFP

    Your CYA will come down. Being in Florida, probably pretty fast. It took me 18 months to get mine from 200+ to 50. I was actually down to 40, but put some old pucks to good use to bring it back up.

    I guess that's my rambling way of saying welcome. You will have a beautiful sparkly clear pool before you know it.
    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: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Welcome to TFP! Time and patience is the key to getting you pool back in tip top shape. It seems like you have a good understanding of the SLAM process and are following it.
    Lisa
    Intex AG vinyl 15' x 48" 4,300 gallons due to skimmer install, Krystal Clear SF pump combo 2800 GPH, Krystal Clear SWG, Pool Blaster Max vacuum, Hayward thru the wall skimmer, TF 100 test kit with speed stir, K 1766 Taylor salt test, My SLAM Process

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    Chairman Meow's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Kim - Oreo has fallen in (so has Tom E. Cat and Mr. Ruffles) The squirrels like to run across the top of the screen, and the cats get so tunnel visioned on 'chasing' the squirrel that they just run right off the edge into the water. They bolt out like they are on fire - no swimming cats for me... but it doesn't discourage them from wanting to spend ALL day out there. They are so happy now - for the last few months I haven't let them out due to my fear that they would fall in the swamp, get carried away by a mutant tadpole or get lost in the clouds of mosquitoes and no-see-ums. Now they are right beside me every time I head out there.

    Tim - wow... illegal??? But that answers the very first question I had when I started reading about the TFP method - which was "why don't they buy the 12% 2.5 gallon jugs for $3 each?" I had no idea that our ubiquitous yellow jugs weren't readily available everywhere.

    This morning my FC was 20 - a 10ppm drop from last night with the CC finally dropping to 1. Skimmer sock was just sort of 'floating' in the skimmer, not enough suction to keep it pulled down.

    Unfortunately I can't spend the day babysitting the pool- too much to do, so I've tested, cleaned the filter, vacuumed, cleaned the filter again, brushed and skimmed, and added 6 cups of chlorine. Hopefully it will hold until I can get back home.
    11K gal, IG plaster, screened in, circa 1982, Hayward CX800RE cartridge filter, 1HP Doheny pool pump, north-west exposure with partial morning shade and full afternoon sun, testing with TF100

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    Po
    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman Meow View Post
    Tim - wow... illegal??? But that answers the very first question I had when I started reading about the TFP method - which was "why don't they buy the 12% 2.5 gallon jugs for $3 each?" I had no idea that our ubiquitous yellow jugs weren't readily available everywhere.
    well, it,really can't be illegal or the chlorine police would be raiding WalMart and taking their bleach. I'm sure it is a marketing thing. Just not sufficient demand for someone to build the infrastructure to supply it to the limited number of pool stores around here. In Florida you have a Pollo Tropicale and a pool store on every corner.

    Our four cats are suspicious of the water. If you tried to carry either of the two older cats (one is about 11 and the other is about 7) near the pool you better have EMS standing buy with lots of bandages. The two young ones (adopted together, but not litter mates - 18 months old) are not happy, but we can get them on the pool float and float them around the pool. They have learned where the steps are and have no issues with jumping off the float and swimming out when they have reached their limit of "fun".
    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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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    We had one cat, Babbit, that would climb on the raft if I floated it close to the side. I would push her around the pool and she just sat there looking like a queen! She was a special one for sure. The ones now just like to get on the ramp to drink out of the pool. I almost had a heart attack the first time I saw one of them on the ramp! Now it is an everyday thing.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Chairman Meow's Avatar
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    Re: The more I read, the dumber I feel

    I could see bottom of the shallow end today, and I can ALMOST make out the bright blue pool brush in the deep end. Still losing about 10ppm FC overnight and CC number continues to read between 1 and 2... pool pump is holding steady at 8psi overnight though and not very dirty at all when we clean it in the mornings. Vacuuming isn't yielding much in the filter either. I've got my fingers crossed that I'll spending July 4th floating in the pool with a beer in hand.
    11K gal, IG plaster, screened in, circa 1982, Hayward CX800RE cartridge filter, 1HP Doheny pool pump, north-west exposure with partial morning shade and full afternoon sun, testing with TF100

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