I just bought a house in Mooresville, NC that came with a 13,000 gallon, 15'x30' in ground gunite pool. I've never taken care of a pool and like every other rookie, I have a few questions.
It has a planter box waterfall, one skimmer, and two bottom drains. It also came with a Polaris robot vacuum that runs off a jet in the wall. I have a 1.5hp pump, and DEL 48 filter and also a 0.5hp booster pump I believe came with the Polaris.
Last weekend, the very first day after buying the house I came home to find the pump surging from sucking in air and the pool had lost about 1 foot of water. I checked the skimmer and found enough leaves to block it up. The waterfall was no longer shooting out far enough to make it into the pool which is how I lost all that water. I immediately shut it down, cleaned the skimmer bucket, opened and cleaned the basket at the pump inlet and filled the pool back up with well water. In addition to the garden hose, it rained like crazy all week but once I got the water level back up to mid skimmer height, I turned it all back on and everything appears to be fine with no pump damage. I then decided to open up the filter and make sure there were no problems in there as the pressure gauge was pointing near the "dirty" mark. Got all the grids out, sprayed them off with a garden hose and put it back together, turned it on and everything is fine. I didn't add any DE powder yet, but I'm getting to that.
As a result of this baptism by fire introduction to pool maintenance, I'm wondering:
1) The Jandy MPV makes a quiet crackling sound, sort of like a small pebble bouncing around in the plastic. I backwashed and rinsed a few times and it still sounds that way and I'm afraid it might be cavitating which can be very distructive. Is that sound "normal," or any other thoughts?
2) The Polaris robot will move around and clean fine without using the booster pump, will I hurt anything running it off the regular 1.5hp pump and maybe only turning the booster on if it appears to not be cleaning well enough?
3) The previous owner gave me a (very, very) quick run through of things and he showed me how to backwash, but never mentioned putting DE powder in and of all the chemicals they left behind, that was the only thing missing. When I washed the grids everything looked ok, if they never used DE powder is there anything I need to look at other than damage to the grids? How much trouble am I asking for if I keep running it without DE?
4) I have an automatic chlorine feeder that holds 10 or so puck size tablets and a dial that goes from 0-5 I think. Should I fill the thing full and any suggestions on a setting to get the right chlorine level? I have a test kit and can dial the chlorine in, but at this point I don't know how long it should take to see a change when I move the dial or how wild of a swing I might get.
5) Because of my experience with the leaves in the skimmer making the waterfall pump water out of the pool, is there any reason I can't just turn the valve so that I don't use the waterfall when I'm not home? I don't want to over pressurize the lines but I want a worry free way to filter while I'm not home. The previous owners were retired and home all day to watch it.
6) There are a ton of trees around and keeping the skimmer basket clear is a full time job. What can I do to help? I don't have a cover but was thinking about a mesh net or something similar. It is an irregular shaped pool so I might need a custom one.
7) Is there usually some sort of liner inside the waterfall planter box? I was hoping to take a look inside without having to dig all the dirt out but didn't see anything obvious yet.
8) The pre purchase pool inspector said the chemical balance was perfect when we bought it, but having all that rain and well water added its off now. I shocked it with 9 oz. of 73% hypo chlorite (sp?) according to the calculator but nothing else yet, probably went about a week with no chemical testing or added, here are my litmus paper style test results.
Temp 52 F
Sorry it was so long winded, thanks for your help!