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Thread: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

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    New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Bought a house with a pool last autumn. Didn't seem to be too difficult to take care of last year, though I was only taking care of it for two months.

    This year...so much rain, busy schedule...pool seemingly hasn't been 100% clean at all.

    30,000 gallon concrete bottom with fiberglass walls, DE filter.

    I have been maintaining free chlorine at ~3-5 ppm and shocking once a week and adding algaecide once per week as per instructions from pool store lady. When I bought the house I was super busy and didn't have time/energy to do research and take care of it, so I just took her a sample of my water once in a while and she told me what to put it, and everything was good.

    This year...eh. I have been using chemicals she sold me (really I owed her my business, she helped me a ton in her personal time, walking me through backwashing, cleaning grids, etc). Powder shock, chlorine sticks w stabilizer, and a algaecide. I had been using test strips throughout spring.

    Few weeks ago I bought the K2006 test kit so I could do this better.

    So fast forward to today. After struggling with algae buildup along the ledge of the pool and some green spots on the bottom maybe 1 foot round and very light green for a month that would not go away despite doing what I thought was shocking, I again shocked the pool last night, hard.

    Before it was at 6.5 ppm FC, 0.5 ppm CC, and ph was about 7.2-7.25. Shocked with Wal MArt shock and added some algaecide too.

    Few hours after this, I went outside with a flashlight and looked at the ledge of the pool. Algae had turned a brow color. Dead! Awesome! I can clean it up in the morning!

    Went out today around noon and algae is back to green. Took measurements. 10.5 ppm FC, 0.5 ppm CC, pH 7.3, TA is around 150-160 (little high I know), and cyanuric acid is off the scale but probably just above 30.

    Help!! Will my pool not be clean until I shock hard, vacuum up dead algae, and CC is at 0? Do I need to chemically clean my grids?

    Edited to add that I also have a leak in my pool heater that hasn't been fixed yet. Pool store said I need a new heater (or fix currnet one for half the price...but current one is ten years old). Due to the pool never being clean I have been running the pump a LOT. A lot of the time it's 24/7.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    With all the sticks and "shock" you have been adding, I would be very surprised if your CYA was really less than 30ppm, although that is possible.

    Do me a favor and stop using the word "shock" ... it has too many possible meanings.

    Since you have algae and have a good test kit, you need to follow the ShockLevelAndMAINTAIN Process and stop going to the pool store for advice and chemicals.

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Ok to give her some business, just no shock, sticks, algaecide, phosphate remover, clarifiers or magic potion from dragon feet.

    Stick with liquid chlorine, cyanuric acid and muriatic acid.

    Keep your chlorine at shock level for your CYA, Chlorine CYA Chart. And brush the algae daily to keep it exposed to chlorine and keep killing it. It builds up layers and biofilm to protect itself and keeps growing after you kill the top layer.
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    First off, thanks for the responses. I'm a really busy guy and as much as I want a pristine and clean pool, sometimes it drops in priority due to other things.

    I am in the process of SLAM'ing. I decided to backwash to help out, however, now my pump pressure is down from a typical starting point of ~15 to about half of this. Did I do something wrong??

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Sure, lots of us are busy, married, kids, jobs all that fun stuff. You might be a good candidate for some type of automated chlorination system. Saltwater chlorine generator or a Stenner pump or Liquidator to manually dose liquid chlorine/bleach. That will take you from 5-10 minutes per day of maintenance to 5-10 minutes every 2-3 days and you can stretch that out to 10-15 minutes each weekend on occasion if your pool is stable.

    I don't know what kind of filter you have so can't help with that. Please add your pool info in your signature as shown here, Pool School - Getting Started
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    I do have an in-line chlorinator. Still trying to figure out the best setting for it, to match my chlorine demand, but eh. I will update my sig to include my pool info when I get home, thanks for the tip.

    Just wanted to update and ask two more questions.

    Pool has been nearly trouble-free since my last post after SLAMMING. After exhausting all the powdered pool-store chlorine I had, I have been using just plain bleach to keep my levels where they need to be, along with my in-line chlorinator, and using that Taylor test kit that is recommended. I also bought a Nautilus electronic pool robot that has been an absolute life saver. I hate vacuuming. I have some evergreens near my pool (about 10 of them, ~30 foot high, ranging from 6-10 feet from the pool) so dead evergreen leaves are a big headache...but not any more. Now I only spend about 5-10 minutes every day on it. Helps that it finally stopped raining every day.

    QUESTIONS

    #1
    Since I have been using regular bleach to maintain chlorine levels, I have noticed that the surface of the water looks different. When light reflects off the surface, there is a bit of color to it. Is this chlorine floating on the surface? Never noticed it before with the granular chlorine. I have just been dumping it straight into the pool, focusing more on the edges (where algae accumulates) and towards my return lines. And I have been sure to use "regular" bleach (Clorox Concentrated, regular scent, 8.25% in I think 121 oz container)

    #2
    I still get green algea growth along the sides of my pool (bottom is concrete which slopes up to vinyl at the top ~3 feet - pool is 9 feet at its deepest), and on the concrete steps leading into the pool. This is despite having high chlorine levels. I brush it off every day and it never gets *worse* but it always comes back. Is this something to be concerned about? I directed one of my returns towards the stairs, towards the surface of the pool, to help with circulation, and this has helped some.

    I have been religiously checking levels every day or every other day and I know they have been at the following levels for the last month or so:

    FC - typically hold at 4-6, though after rain + debris contamination I get it up to ~10 right after
    CC - always below 0.5, probably closer to 0. Barely turns a light hue of pink sometimes.
    CA - ~35
    TA - have not measured recently but around ~170 and yes I know that's a bit high I refill with well water which is around 220 ppm
    pH - ~7.25-7.3

    #3
    Naive question...but I have two skimmers, two returns, and the main drain. Should the main drain have suction on it? The valve is open but there is no suction. When I bought the house, the main drain was apparently closed for the entirety of last autumn, as when the pool store came to close it, they noted that the main drain valve was closed. If it is supposed to have suction on it, could it be clogged?

    #4
    Since I have high alkalinity I tried turning a return jet up to the surfacen to aerate. A while ago the pressure was able to break the surface pretty easy and create some audible "turbulence" on the water surface. It does not break the water surface any more and only looks rippled. This happens regardless if it's right after backwashing. My system has been running right at 14-15psi (the baseline pressure) for the last couple weeks.

    I typically run the pump overnight, from maybe 7PM to 7AM. 30k gallon pool, I think its a 1 hp pump. It would probably be better to run it during the day I suppose. Was just trying to reap the benefits of lower cost of electricity, but if it makes a difference I have no problem running it in the day instead.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    1, bleach needs to be unscented not regular scent. That could be what is on the surface.

    2, what is your CYA? If it is high you might not be maintaining enough chlorine, Chlorine CYA Chart. If you have algae you should SLAM again. As long as you keep your PH between 7.2 and 7.8 there is no need to worry about TA, adding acid to lower PH will slowly lower your TA, Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity.

    3, it could be clogged, there isn't usually a lot of suction in the drain unless you close the skimmer valve. Try closing the skimmer valve and see what happens. It might suck the clog out if there is one. Or there could be air in the line or something. I have to do that to my far skimmer occasionally when it stops working for no apparent reason.

    4, aeration will raise PH, then you add acid to lower PH and TA, repeat. More here, Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity

    It is fine to run the pump at night to save some cash.

    The inline chlorinator uses pucks that add CYA to the pool. Keep an eye on the CYA level. More on chlorinating here, Pool School - How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    Here are the Pool School - Recommended Levels for your pool.
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    1, bleach needs to be unscented not regular scent. That could be what is on the surface.

    2, what is your CYA? If it is high you might not be maintaining enough chlorine, Chlorine CYA Chart. If you have algae you should SLAM again. As long as you keep your PH between 7.2 and 7.8 there is no need to worry about TA, adding acid to lower PH will slowly lower your TA, Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity.

    3, it could be clogged, there isn't usually a lot of suction in the drain unless you close the skimmer valve. Try closing the skimmer valve and see what happens. It might suck the clog out if there is one. Or there could be air in the line or something. I have to do that to my far skimmer occasionally when it stops working for no apparent reason.

    4, aeration will raise PH, then you add acid to lower PH and TA, repeat. More here, Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity

    It is fine to run the pump at night to save some cash.

    The inline chlorinator uses pucks that add CYA to the pool. Keep an eye on the CYA level. More on chlorinating here, Pool School - How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    Here are the Pool School - Recommended Levels for your pool.

    1 - The first time I used Clorox "Regular" bleach. I don't think I could find any that were labeled as unscented, only things like "original scent". Pool school says "regular" or "unscented"...I'm assuming the WalMart/Target stuff I bought is correct, I forget what it's labeled, I think "Original Scent"

    2 - CYA is around 35 (sorry I listed this as CA in my above post...still trying to remember all the acronyms).

    3 - Thanks for the tip. Will try this out.

    And as far as I can tell, the sticks I am using in the chlorinator have a minimal effect on CYA. I bought WalMArt stabilizer to get it from "off the charts" low to it's current level of 35. Then in an effort to use up the sticks I already had, I was using the chlorinator as a significant source of chlorine, sometimes cranking it up all the way and going through a few sticks in a few days. No change in CYA.

    These are the sticks-

    Amazon.com : BioGuard Silk Smart Sticks (30 lb) : Swimming Pool Chemicals And Supplies : Patio, Lawn Garden

    They say they have "sunshield technology" to prevent "it" from breaking down due to sun exposure. To me that sounds like CYA but it seems to have no effect on CYA levels........

    Just noticed in the Pool School that my pH is lower than recommended. I thought 7.2-7.4 was best but it says 7.5-7.8. Guess I overlooked that.

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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Those are trichlor sticks. They are for chlorination but each will add some CYA as well. But it is a very inefficient way to quickly raise CYA. it could take a month or two to get up to 35.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    Yep, the sticks are trichlor. Each stick weighs 8 oz and adds 4ppm FC and 2.4ppm of CYA.

    7.2 to 7.8 is ok. 7.5-7.8 is preferred.

    Regular might be ok, I buy generic at Kroger or Target and they both say unscented.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner, struggling to get pool "stabilized" this year.

    The whole 30lbs of sticks will add 242ppm FC and 147ppm CYA
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