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Thread: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

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    SinistrV6's Avatar
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    7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Here's the short version.
    New pool in 2007. Original installer put a SWG cell that was undersized(SC36) on it. Went to a bigger cell (SC48). No significant changes. Time span-2 years.

    Ran that size cell(SC48) for about 3 years. Liner failed eventually and pool sat unkept for most over a year.

    New liner last year. New Cell again. This time SC52 (formerly SC60). Should produce MORE THAN ENOUGH Chlorine for this 28,000 gallon pool.


    I'm a student of TFP and BBB method. All testing done with a TFT-100 test kit.

    I've followed all of the Shock (now SLAM) methods and they always remove the algae and I have may pool back...for about 10 days to 2 weeks.

    No matter what I do, algae always returns.

    Search for my user name here on TFT if you want to look back at the old threads regarding this issue.


    The only things that are not "by the book"

    Alkalinity - My fill water is above 200. My pool water is routinely in the 140-180 range.
    Calcium Hardness - I do not correct for CH based on the common advice here on TFP that it is unnecessary in a vinyl pool (despite the pool store's strong objection, that they can't justify).

    The only other variable (that I can think of) is inadequate circulation. My pump is currently set to run 23hrs/day but that's only been in the last week. Prior to that, it was 18hrs/day.
    Discussions here and elsewhere lead me to believe that my 1-HP pump and 1.5" return lines were adequate. Those are about the only things I haven't changed.
    42X16X24 True-L vinyl lined IG pool
    30,500 gallons
    Pool Pilot Digital SWG
    Sand filter

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    What CYA level are you maintaining?
    What FC level are you maintaining?
    Are you following the SLAM process through and passing all 3 criteria?
    Have you checked in the nook and crannies, like behind the lights or in ladders for hidden algae?

    The TA does not pertain and your pump running 18+ hours is excessive, so circulation should not be a problem.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    So what is your normal CYA level and your normal/target FC level?

    Circulation is probably not the issue. Most pools only need 30 min a day for proper circulation.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    before your last outbreak, what were your CYA and FC levels?

    Are there any components like a light, stairs, robot cleaner, anything which may need to be disassembled and manually cleaned that might be hiding algae.
    10,500 gal IG, Topaz Pebble, auto-level
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    SinistrV6's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Most replies had similar questions, so here goes.

    Normal CYA - 70
    Normal FC goal - 4


    The only unaddressed area where algae might be "hiding" would be in the light socket. Haven't pulled it in a few months (it's DOA).
    42X16X24 True-L vinyl lined IG pool
    30,500 gallons
    Pool Pilot Digital SWG
    Sand filter

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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Chlorine kills algae. Pools that have algae have inadequate chlorine....period.

    Do you have algae now? If so, SLAM the pool and get rid of it. There is nothing in your pool different from anyone else's that allows algae to grow. There is no SUPER ALGAE that will get you and your water is the same as everyone's.

    If you are getting algae in an area with no circulation, brush the sides and affected areas and the algae will be exposed to the chlorine and be killed.

    Honestly, it is no more complex than that.

    I just finished reading some of your older posts. You are not following TFP suggestions. What we teach is virtually infallible but you have to follow what we teach and not follow your own plan.

    I am sorry to be so direct but if you really want your water clear, we can help you do that.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    I have no idea.
    18k gal AG Sand Filter K-2006

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    I agree with Dave. Once the SLAM is complete, maybe try maintaining 5ppm so you have a little more cushion.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    SinistrV6's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    I'm open to criticism but I've done it step-by-step dozens of times. What is it that you see me doing wrong? I'm clearly missing SOMETHING so I'm open to suggestions. I'm about to SLAM it again (Like I do every few weeks). Am I just unrealistic about the amount of money and day-to day maintenance this thing should take? I readily admit that I HATE, HATE, HATE this pool! It's nothing but an extra 40-50 hours/month of work for me. The kids and wife use it on those rare days when it is useable. I've been in it 3X in the last 2 years. I don't have time to babysit it every day...

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Chlorine kills algae. Pools that have algae have inadequate chlorine....period.

    Do you have algae now? If so, SLAM the pool and get rid of it. There is nothing in your pool different from anyone else's that allows algae to grow. There is no SUPER ALGAE that will get you and your water is the same as everyone's.

    If you are getting algae in an area with no circulation, brush the sides and affected areas and the algae will be exposed to the chlorine and be killed.

    Honestly, it is no more complex than that.

    I just finished reading some of your older posts. You are not following TFP suggestions. What we teach is virtually infallible but you have to follow what we teach and not follow your own plan.

    I am sorry to be so direct but if you really want your water clear, we can help you do that.
    Last edited by SinistrV6; 06-30-2015 at 03:24 PM. Reason: addition
    42X16X24 True-L vinyl lined IG pool
    30,500 gallons
    Pool Pilot Digital SWG
    Sand filter

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    You are either not fully completing the SLAM process ... or you just need to maintain a FC level a little higher while in maintenance mode ... or a little of both.

    There are no other options.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by SinistrV6 View Post
    I'm open to criticism but I've done it step-by-step dozens of times. What is it that you see me doing wrong?
    Well, without going through all your posts these things just out:

    Quote Originally Posted by SinistrV6 View Post
    Here's the deal. A week and a half ago, my pool looked great. A week ago, started seeing some algae. No big deal, I've been there before. Shock, Algaecide, Flock, Vac to waste.

    Had the water tested at the pool store (I was out of CYA reagent for my TFT100 kit).

    So, I bought bleach and shock and algaecide and prepared to hit it hard.

    Here we are today (one week after those results). My pool will NOT hold FC even after being hit with 20 lbs of shock, and 16 (121 oz bottles) of 8% bleach!
    Quote Originally Posted by SinistrV6 View Post
    Update: Pool still will not hold FC for very long. CYA has returned to Zero. Pool isn't green anymore but is very cloudy and Flocculant won't drop it out.
    We don't advocate using powered shock

    We don't advocate taking action on your pool based on pool store testing

    We don't advocate using algecide to cure algae

    We don't advocate using floculant

    Even after you were told in 2013 that you possibly had ammonia from a CYA conversion you kept going back to these potions rather than just continue hitting it with chlorine.


    Dave said it best:
    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Chlorine kills algae. Pools that have algae have inadequate chlorine....period.
    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: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Clearly your SWG isn't generating enough chlorine.

    I don't know a whole lot about SWGs, just what I've learned by trial-and-error with my mother's PoolPilot...

    Have you tested your salt level? Does the PoolPilot need to be re-calibrated when you change the size of your cell? Are there any "trouble codes" showing on the PoolPilot?

    EDIT: I know from time to time my mom's PoolPilot will show a red flashing light along with the words "Check Flow". As long as that message is present, the chlorine generator is not operational. I have to unscrew the PVC union that leads to the cell and clean out the "In-Line Strainer" that is upstream of the cell. See No. 1 in the diagram below:



    EDIT (Again...): Is your check valve (No. 4 in the diagram) working properly? Perhaps it is allowing too much water to flow around the cell... Also, have you cleaned your cell recently? This was another problem I experienced with my mom's pool.
    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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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    How often are you physically testing the FC with your test kit? Or are you simply trusting your SWCG system to control everything?

    If the "Pool Pilot" really is functioning correctly and it has maintained a FC of 4 or higher, and you still have problems, then either the last SLAM was not done to completion or you have significant amounts of contamination coming into your pool.

    I agree that the first step will be to clean out the light niche. This tends to be THE most common issue.

    Also, does your pool have a floor drain? Does it actually have water flowing through it? A non-functioning floor drain creates a perfect little haven for algae, mostly protecting it from the circulating chlorine, and providing plenty of light to pass through. (This happened to me.)

    Does your pool get a lot of rainwater runoff from your yard or house? This could bring in enough contaminants to reduce FC to the point where the SWCG cell can't keep up.

    Are you leaving your solar cover on most of the time? Rainwater puddling on top of the cover is protected from the chlorinated water below, and so these puddles can stagnate and develop algae if you don't remove the cover on a regular basis. Also, if the cover is old, many of the bubbles may be broken, providing hundreds of little algae nests.

    Whatever the cause, the recommended FC levels for a SWCG pool are apparently not sufficient to keep your pool clear. As advised elsewhere in the thread, aim for the top end of the range, or use the recommended levels for a non-SWCG pool. And test your FC daily for a few weeks, to make sure the pool pilot is actually controlling the FC correctly.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    I readily admit that I HATE, HATE, HATE this pool! It's nothing but an extra 40-50 hours/month of work for me.
    All the chlorine on the planet will not overcome that. I suggest you pay someone to take care of it so you can get some relief.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    SinistrV6's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    You're right about that. The prices for service really put me off of it but in reality, it might be a wash with the time and money I'm spending to (unsuccessfully) maintain the pool. I was quoted $200/mo plus chemicals.

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    All the chlorine on the planet will not overcome that. I suggest you pay someone to take care of it so you can get some relief.
    - - - Updated - - -

    No trouble codes currently. Salinity is 3500. I'd never considered the check valve, though. I'll look at it. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by COBrien View Post
    Clearly your SWG isn't generating enough chlorine.

    I don't know a whole lot about SWGs, just what I've learned by trial-and-error with my mother's PoolPilot...

    Have you tested your salt level? Does the PoolPilot need to be re-calibrated when you change the size of your cell? Are there any "trouble codes" showing on the PoolPilot?

    EDIT: I know from time to time my mom's PoolPilot will show a red flashing light along with the words "Check Flow". As long as that message is present, the chlorine generator is not operational. I have to unscrew the PVC union that leads to the cell and clean out the "In-Line Strainer" that is upstream of the cell. See No. 1 in the diagram below:



    EDIT (Again...): Is your check valve (No. 4 in the diagram) working properly? Perhaps it is allowing too much water to flow around the cell... Also, have you cleaned your cell recently? This was another problem I experienced with my mom's pool.
    - - - Updated - - -

    1. Testing about once a month (not enough, I'm sure).
    2. Two floor drains. Both working.
    3. No rainwater runoff but lots and lots of rain this time of year.
    4.
    Quote Originally Posted by TomBorg View Post
    How often are you physically testing the FC with your test kit? Or are you simply trusting your SWCG system to control everything?

    If the "Pool Pilot" really is functioning correctly and it has maintained a FC of 4 or higher, and you still have problems, then either the last SLAM was not done to completion or you have significant amounts of contamination coming into your pool.

    I agree that the first step will be to clean out the light niche. This tends to be THE most common issue.

    Also, does your pool have a floor drain? Does it actually have water flowing through it? A non-functioning floor drain creates a perfect little haven for algae, mostly protecting it from the circulating chlorine, and providing plenty of light to pass through. (This happened to me.)

    Does your pool get a lot of rainwater runoff from your yard or house? This could bring in enough contaminants to reduce FC to the point where the SWCG cell can't keep up.

    Are you leaving your solar cover on most of the time? Rainwater puddling on top of the cover is protected from the chlorinated water below, and so these puddles can stagnate and develop algae if you don't remove the cover on a regular basis. Also, if the cover is old, many of the bubbles may be broken, providing hundreds of little algae nests.

    Whatever the cause, the recommended FC levels for a SWCG pool are apparently not sufficient to keep your pool clear. As advised elsewhere in the thread, aim for the top end of the range, or use the recommended levels for a non-SWCG pool. And test your FC daily for a few weeks, to make sure the pool pilot is actually controlling the FC correctly.
    42X16X24 True-L vinyl lined IG pool
    30,500 gallons
    Pool Pilot Digital SWG
    Sand filter

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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by SinistrV6 View Post
    1. Testing about once a month (not enough, I'm sure).
    You are correct. Until you learn your pool you should test every day. It's really only about 5-10 minutes because on a daily test all you need to test is chlorine and pH. Once you get the feel for it you can generally cut back to two or three times a week for the chlorine & pH. One of those day you will also test everything else except CYA. CYA once a month.

    As you can tell, anything less than this will allow the pool to get away from you and you have huge problems to fix once you notice them.

    As Richard320 has in his signature, a pool is like a pet, you have to feed it even on day you don't want to play with 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: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    There's ultimately only one cause for algae, and that's too little free chlorine. With CYA of 70, you're safe swimming in anything up to 10 ppm. So I'd shoot for 8-10 and stay there for a while. If you're targeting 4 and you only test it a couple of times per month, I'd bet real money you're dropping below 4 at times. Bingo, algae! You need to test at least every other day, and daily until you get this problem put to rest. Pay me now or pay me later, as they say...
    25000 gallon free-form gunite
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    SinistrV6's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    I'll try. I work rotating 12hr shifts and own another business in another state (55 miles away, one way). Add two kids in their early teens, and a wife who works 60 hrs a week and 10 minutes is hard to come by! That said, I'll have to start doing it or pay a service (<-- more likely, even though I hate paying people to do what I can do myself).

    I'd love to be in my garage working on my car, but, like the pool, she's neglected too.

    Just tested the water. Here's my baseline results before I start again. Looks like I'm going to have to replace some of the water to get the CYA down.

    FC - 5.5
    CC - 0.5
    CYA - 90
    pH - 7.9
    Last edited by SinistrV6; 06-30-2015 at 05:27 PM. Reason: added test results
    42X16X24 True-L vinyl lined IG pool
    30,500 gallons
    Pool Pilot Digital SWG
    Sand filter

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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    I've looked at some of your earlier threads such as Pool won't hold FC - Algae in full bloom, Can't get FC level and water is cloudy, and Fighting Mustard Algae yet again, am I on the right track? so my first question is what kind of algae are you seeing? If it is yellow/mustard algae, then unless it is completely eradicated it can come back at normal FC/CYA levels because it takes roughly twice the active chlorine level to kill it compared to green algae. For an SWCG pool that would mean a 10% FC/CYA minimum (7 ppm FC when CYA is 70 ppm) instead of a 5% FC/CYA minimum (3.5 ppm FC when CYA is 70 ppm).

    Your RC-52 is supposed to output 2 pounds of chlorine per 24 hours which in your 31,000 gallon pool (you used to say it was that size, now you say 28,000) should be 0.32 ppm FC per hour. So that should be OK given your 70 ppm CYA level though with a lot of sun it may be on the edge near peak noontime (around 1 PM with daylight savings time). Your L-shaped pool might have some circulation issues if it doesn't have enough returns or if they aren't pointed in a way to cause good circulation flow.

    If the algae is yellow/mustard, then since it gets reintroduced or not completely eradicated, you could use a last-resort method and I'm surprised you didn't do that before rather than keep fighting this. Some people are able to completely eradicate the yellow/mustard algae from the pool including behind light niches, under removable ladders, inside cleaning poles, etc. and not reintroduce it from swimsuits that were in lakes with the algae, but others are not able to and either maintain a higher FC/CYA level or use phosphate removers or algaecide (though most algaecides don't work well against yellow/mustard algae -- copper does, but it has side effects).
    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
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: 7 years of misery with this pool. What am I missing? Circulation?

    Put the kids to work ... only should take a few minutes a day
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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