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Thread: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

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    New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Hi folks! I've learned a lot from Pool School and the forums (thanks!), but I've still got some new-guy questions.

    Questions are below. Some background, if you're interested:

    I bought a house about 4 months ago and a couple weeks ago finally got around to tinkering with the long-neglected pool (some details in my sig). I got some bad advice from an acquaintance of mine and the local Leslie guy, I saw no progress in the condition of the pool, so I started doing my own research last week. Since then, I've been poring over Pool School like it was a bible.

    I've got a leaf rake and have dredged up a couple large piles of sludgy-leaves. I think I've got most of the junk out, but I can't see to be sure.

    I ordered some new cartridges and installed them about 5 days ago. The pump has been running non-stop for about two weeks.

    I started shocking the right way on Sunday (2 days ago). Since Sunday I've gone through about 10 gallons of Walmart bleach and some of the unstabilized chlorine I bought before I found out about the bleach. I've ordered a Leslie K-2006 that will be here in a couple days. To hold me over, I've been using some test strips and a 5-way test from Walmart.

    Here are my latest test results:

    TH: 200
    FC: been keeping it as close to 10 as I can
    pH: 7.5
    TA: 120
    CYA: maybe 15 or 20, very close to 0
    TC: off the charts orange

    With the exception of the total chlorine, these results were taken from the strips, but I've confirmed them, where possible, with the drop kit.

    The Ph was around 8.4, but I brought it down with some muriatic acid.

    The CYA was closer to 20, but after some experimentation with what the valves do, I accidentally drained some water and had to replace it. I've got some chlorine tabs in the auto feeder, but I haven't noticed any increase in the cya from that. I'm going to buy some cya, but I wanted to wait until I had a test kit to more accurately measure the FC (I can keep the FC close to 10 with my current tests, but it turns into guessing if I try to keep it higher than that).

    A couple weeks ago, the water was a dark green. New it is a little clearer, grayish/green in color, and there is a milky layer across the surface of the pool; from what I've read, these are all good signs, right?

    However, I thought I would have seen more progress in water clarity since Sunday, especially since my pump and filter seem to be overkill for my pool size. Picture of its condition as of this morning:



    Questions:

    • Am I on the right track in getting the pool clean? I thought I'd see more progress by now.
      [/*:m:1hoodpwg]
    • There is a threaded hole on each side of of the pool. What are these things:



      Here is my pad (the heater looks beyond repair):


      [/*:m:1hoodpwg]
    • What does the valve position labeled "Pool Cleaner" do? I think it is actually the drain, is this possible and does it also do anything else?
      [/*:m:1hoodpwg]
    • What does the "Water Feature" circuit do? There are no fountains or anything. I don't see anything happening when it is open.
      [/*:m:1hoodpwg]
    • There are some bubbles in the pump window. Not a lot, but is there supposed to be none? A pool jet and a spa jet each have some small bubbles in the water stream (none of the other jets do). You can't see much, but here's a pic:


      [/*:m:1hoodpwg]
    • I'm not clear on where to hook up the vacuum. Into the skimmer? Really? Is there a tutorial with pictures? I've read some without pictures and they have still left me a little confused.[/*:m:1hoodpwg]


    Thanks!
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    The pool cleaner pipe probably goes to an outlet on one of the pool walls where you can connect a pressure side cleaner. This will be difficult to verify until the water clears up.

    I saw a threaded pipe on the deck in one of your pictures, which could be a deck jet. If so that would be what the water feature pipe goes to. If nothing happens when you turn it on then the pipe might be clogged or broken. Again this will be simpler to investigate when the water clears up.

    A couple of small bubbles in the pump are not a problem.

    There are two ways to hook a vacuum into the skimmer. One way is to remove the skimmer basket and plug the hose into the pipe at the bottom of the skimmer. The other is to use a vacuum plate, which fits over the skimmer basket, and then pug the hose into the skimmer plate. We don't currently have good pictures of this.

    Your test numbers are good enough for now. Just keep raising FC up above 10 as frequently as you can, and at least twice a day.

    In the mean time, the more debris you can get out of the pool the better. Vacuuming blind is a very good idea. Anything you can get out will speed up the whole process.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Great! Thanks for your help, Jason!
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Hi and Welcome.

    You sure that wasn't a baquacil pool? Those pics make me wonder....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    You sure that wasn't a baquacil pool? Those pics make me wonder....
    The pictures made me wonder the same thing (baquacil) too...

    How long has the pool been un-used?

    Are there any chemicals and/or containers that were left by the prior owners, or information on a pool service that might have been used?
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    The house was a forclosure and had been vacant for a while before we bought it. We have been unable to find out anything on the history of the house, including the pool.

    The water was gross the first time I saw the house. The pump was running off of a timer - a few hours per day. There weren't any trees or moss growing out of it. There were some goggles and a squirt gun floating on the surface of the water when we bought it, something else that seems to suggest it hadn't been neglected for too terribly long.

    I have not found any left-over chemicals.

    Thanks for your help!

    I'm off to read some of those baqua conversion stories. Ack!
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by DamianS
    I'm off to read some of those baqua conversion stories. Ack!
    OK, except keeping the FC at 15, the conversion procedure seems to be what I've more or less been doing.

    Are there any other ways to tell if it was a baqua pool?
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    I just remembered - there was a floating tab-thingy in the pool. Is that also used in a baqua pool?

    Added:

    The pressure in the filter has gone up maybe 1 PSI in the past 5 days since I installed the new cartriges. Would it have gone up more than that if it were a baqua?

    My wife dug up a picture from the second or third time we went to look at the house, around November. I don't know if it will help with anything.
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    My Leslie's K-2006 was delivered today! I'm about to go all Mr. Wizard on the pool!

    Also, I figured out what the Water Feature was: the water slide. It didn't even occur to me!

    I'll report back with some results after the testing.
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    I don't think so (floater/baq). Perhaps it's just a coincidence.

    Was part of the bad advice the PS gave you - to add algaecide? That foaming/odd color could be from some algaecides.

    Once you are at the end stage of shocking, it will yield more clues whether this was once a Baq pool.

    Keep us posted on your progress.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Looks like you're on the right track! I had a good laugh with the Mr. Wizard comment!

    Keep adding the bleach! I also would like to add that if your Chlorine is high, you should not adjust the pH because of false positives. Bleach will raise the pH at higher levels and will then come down as the sun/organics burn it off. Once the levels come down below 10ppm and your pH is still high, then you can adjust it with MA.

    You're doing good. The pool didn't turn green over night so it will take awhile to bring it back. POP. Pool Owner Patience. Go get some. Maybe some beer too if you want. 8) Thanks for the pics! Please do keep them coming!

    ETA that it looks more like foam to me than the crud from a baq conversion. BAQ stuff looks like clumpy bits of cheese to me. If I were a betting woman, I'm laying my money on an overload of algaecide reacting with the bleach. Regardless, GOOD LUCK!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    I doubt it is baquacil, the color would be more "dramatic" by now. The floater does suggest chlorine. The foaming is similar, but other things can cause that.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Isn't that thing between the filter and the heater (with the castle top) a chlorine puck feeder?

    Good luck cleaning that mess. I'm going through the same process myself. Mine had been sitting for 2 years with no love.
    When I started, the filter would only run about an hour between cleanings (boy did that suck!), then it got to 2 hours, then four, etc etc. Now I'm up to 4 days!!
    I figured out how to "pump to waste". I closed off all the returns, opened up that water spigot near the pump and took the plug out of the bottom of my filter. My equipment pad was a mess, but I was able to vacumn out a ton of ****.
    In-Ground. White Marbelite plaster. 21'-7" x 38' Figure Eightish Custom diving pool with 9' deep end. 24,750 Gallons. Pentair Challenger 2 hp pump, Pentair Clean and Clear Plus CCP420 Cartridge Filter, Paramount PCC-2000 In Floor Cleaning system with Debris Canister. Pool/House was a foreclosure that sat dormant for at least 2 years, and was an actual swamp. Using BBB and POP I made it a sparkling backyard oasis. I have a TF100 kit, and I know how to use it (mostly!). This is my FIRST REAL pool, but thanks to TFP, I know what I'm doing! (mostly!).

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Thanks for the encouragement, guys (and ladies)!

    Isn't that thing between the filter and the heater (with the castle top) a chlorine puck feeder?
    Yes it is. Do Baqua pools not have autofeeders?

    Was part of the bad advice the PS gave you - to add algaecide?
    No, nobody told me to add algaecide and I never did. The Leslie's guy told me I didn't need a test kit.To the Leslie's guy's defense, he did steer me away from the bromine I asked for. I had read on another forum that bromine was needed to get rid of algae. Of course, I know better now.

    I had to get out the door for work this morning, but I did have time for a couple tests.

    Using the test strips, I got an FC of ~6. The FAS-DPD gave me 12 (I did the test twice to be sure I did it right). I'm scared to think how high the FC was when the test strips were reading 10.

    The CYA test in the new kit read 0.

    CH is 0. This is particularly disturbing because I have a plaster liner. I'll pick up some calcium chloride and cya on the way home today.

    Low calcium can cause foaming, right? That might be the source of the foam.

    Thanks again!
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Ch is not very important with a vinyl liner. With vinyl, we recommend a CH level between 50 and 300. But even levels below 50 are usually alright and only cause minor problems, like foaming, when there are any problems at all.

    You should get some CYA into the pool, but not too much just yet. I recommend aiming for a CYA level between 20 and 30.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Ch is not very important with a vinyl liner. With vinyl, we recommend a CH level between 50 and 300. But even levels below 50 are usually alright and only cause minor problems, like foaming, when there are any problems at all.
    But with my plaster and tile surface, it's a big deal, right?

    Thanks!
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

  17. Back To Top    #17
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Right, keeping CH at least at 250 is quite important with plaster. It isn't something you have to fix in the next 10 minutes, but do raise the CH level reasonably soon.

    (For some reason, I remember your post saying vinyl, so I responded that way.)

    One thing to keep in mind, CH can't really be zero in a plaster pool. I suspect your CH test is incorrect. If it was zero, it would leach calcium out of the plaster fairly quickly. I wonder if you are having problems with the CH test?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    One thing to keep in mind, CH can't really be zero in a plaster pool. I suspect your CH test is incorrect. If it was zero, it would leach calcium out of the plaster fairly quickly. I wonder if you are having problems with the CH test?
    I followed the instructions exactly. I'm at work right now, but if i remember correctly, the test involves 5 drops of blue liquid that turns the sample pink, then you add another liquid and count the drops. I added the blue fluid and it flashed pink for literally a second and went clear. There certainly is a chance I did it wrong. I'll try it again when I get home.

    Thanks, Jason!
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

  19. Back To Top    #19
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    If it turns clear, you have interference with the test and the results are not valid. High FC levels and metals can interfere with some of the lower quality CH tests.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: New to pool ownership - Some Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    If it turns clear, you have interference with the test and the results are not valid. High FC levels and metals can interfere with some of the lower quality CH tests.
    The FC was 12 at the time with 0 cya, but it's a Leslie's K2006. I'll try it again when I get home and will post a full set of results.

    How do I test for metals?
    IG ~15,000 Gallon Plaster Pool with Attached Spa
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 - 150GPM, Cartridge
    2hp Pump 1.1 Service Rating
    Direct sunlight most of the day

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