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Thread: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

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    Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Hello Experts,

    I have an issue which I am hoping your expert advice can help with. I had an algae bloom last fall before the water started getting cold and because of our schedule and all that we had going on I decided to neglect closing the pool correctly and didn't even cover it (I have had it for 5 years and always covered it and will continue in the future after this year ). Needless to say the pool turned dark green and had algae all over it as well as leaves in the bottom.

    I decided over the winter that I would switch from using chlorine tablets or bleach this year to a salt system. I purchased a new pump, filter and salt water chlorinator. It has started getting warmer in Arkansas this year (water temp is 60 deg) so I figured I would go ahead and get the system going.

    I drained the water down to the bottom return, approx 2/3 of the water, and refilled the pool along with hooked up the new pump, sand filter and chlorinator. I still have not turned the chlorinator on at this point.

    I started SLAMing the pool when the water refilled. I used a leaf net to get what I can out of the bottom (I know I didn't get all of it), I brushed the sides and bottom the best I could without being able to see the bottom. I have been working on this for a week and yesterday I passed the overnight chlorine test and today my numbers are great.

    I am using a Taylor K-2006 test kit along with the K-1766 for salt.

    My numbers at 2:00 PM today were as follows:

    FC 7.8
    CC 0
    PH 7.0
    TA 80
    CH 200
    CYA 60
    SALT 800

    I added 34oz of ph increase based on pool calculators recommendation to get it up to 7.4.

    Here are my issues.

    - The pool is still really cloudy, like milky white cloudy. I can probably only see a foot down. My question is should I just wait and see if it gets better over time? When the filter psi increases by 8-10 I will backwash to reduce it back down. Should I use a clarifier, floc, any other additive to get this to clear up? I have also read about adding DE to the filter. I need it to clear enough so I can see to vacuum all the other debris out.

    - When should I start the salt system? Based on the calculator I need to add 271 lbs of salt to the pool and get it brushed in really good, they also suggest adding a bottle of metal remover and a bottle of non-copper algaecide to the pool before I start it up. Is it worth getting this started or should I just use bleach to keep the FC up until it clears?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    -Seth
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Hi Seth and welcome to TFP! My gut tells me you're not done with the SLAM - sorry. I say this because you stated you just finished the SLAM and your FC is 7.8. With a CYA of 60, your FC SLAM/Shock level would've been 24, so it would still be very high today. I would increase FC and continue to follow the SLAM page closely. Definitely do not add anything to your pool other than regular bleach for that FC. No floc, clarifier, or other pool store products. Just a waste. Don't try DE yet either.

    It's imperative to ensure all of the solid junk is out, otherwise you are prolonging the work. Try your best to scoop any junk out of there so all you're dealing with is water. Maintain that FC of 24 and keep it going. The water should be extremely clear to pass the SLAM, so even though you appeared to have no FC loss, the SLAM wasn't quite on-target yet.

    Hope that helps. Great to have you with us.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Thanks for the quick reply. I left a little bit out of the timeline so let me see if this helps any.

    My CYA was at 0 or at least my test kit filled up the tube and I could still see the black dot clearly. With that I figured my SLAM level was around 16 FC. I keep it at 18 from the first time I added chlorine until after I passed the overnight test and my CC went to 0. I had a CC of 2.0 for a few days.

    Wednesday night at 8:00 PM I had a FC of 18.2 and CC 0.8, Thursday AM at 6:45 I had FC 17.6 and CC at 1.0 I keep the SLAM level at around 18 using bleach 8.25%. Yesterday at 2:00 PM we finally had a sunny day and I had FC at 12 and CC at 0. I also added 4 lbs of CYA through panty hose hung in the pool starting on Wednesday. So technically I finished SLAM a couple of days ago and I was letting the FC drop so I could get accurate readings for PH, etc.

    I can keep adding bleach and keep the FC at 24 until it clears but just wanted to make sure you had all the data as I left that part out of the timeline. I'll add some more bleach tonight to get it up to SLAM level and put the auto vac in and see what it can find.

    Thanks again!

    -Seth
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    FIrst off, welcome! Next I'll suggest you use only 10cc of water to test your pool for FC. 10cc pool water + 1 heaping scoop of powder...then do the test as you have been but to get your final FC result you just divide the number of drops by 2. Saves on reagents and is quicker.

    Don't even bother performing an overnight chlorine loss test if your water is anything less than pristine clean. If its cloudy you're far from ready.

    You have to get all the solids out to make this go faster. Anything left behind will just slow everything down as the chlorine is trying to oxidize these solids and being used up unnecessarily which prolongs a SLAM.

    Yippee
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    I added enough bleach to get my FC over 24 and ran the pool vac for a bit tonight and it was full. Based on popular belief I will be spending my Sunday trying to get all the crud off the bottom.

    Hopefully this will clear things up. I'll post updated levels and progress as I go. When it gets clearer we can then discuss the whole salt generator startup.

    -Seth

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by sethcoop View Post
    I added enough bleach to get my FC over 24 and ran the pool vac for a bit tonight and it was full. Based on popular belief I will be spending my Sunday trying to get all the crud off the bottom.

    Hopefully this will clear things up. I'll post updated levels and progress as I go. When it gets clearer we can then discuss the whole salt generator startup.

    -Seth
    VERY good plan! If you get a lot of leaves and junk in your pool you might want to look at this simple but wonderful cleaner:
    https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Lea...ds=leaf+gulper

    It does add water to the pool just so you are aware and ready to drain and re-balance as needed. But it is SO easy to use and does a great job!

    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: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Checked FC today and it was at 21.5 so I added a bottle of bleach (121 oz 8.25%) to get it up to around 26 or 27.

    I have been scooping leaves off the bottom, it is really difficult as the pool is a single depth and I'll find a pocket of leaves here or there but most of the time the net comes back clean. I have a Aquabot Rover Junior that I have been running also. It seems to do a decent job of kicking stuff off the bottom so that it can mix with the water and the filter grab it and each time I pull it out of the water the bag has a bunch of junk in it.

    Here is a picture of how the pool looks today so far.

    IMG_0376.jpg

    I'll probably pickup one of the leaf gulper vacuums when I get out to the store today.

    Just for my understanding the cloudy of the pool is all the dead algae and organic material from the leaves, etc that the chlorine is breaking down. So the pool will not be clear as long as there is debris because it keep getting broken down? Does that sound correct?

    Thanks again for the help!

    -Seth
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    You're doing well Seth. Yes, the murkiness looks to be algae transforming and beginning to decay. But make no mistake, you have to stay with it. It's not all dead yet. Be consistent with the FC. If your CYA is 60, try to hoover around an FC of 24. If you leave for a while and it drops, increase when you return, but don't try to go excessively high in FC out of concern for your vinyl liner. Pics each day a great! It shows you what's happening. Make sure to brush each day - the more the better. Clean the filter once filter gauge pressure increases by about 20-25%. Consistency is the name of the game with a SLAM. Hang in there.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    What Pat said! LOL

    I see a tinge of green still so it is not all dead. You will see it go gray when most of it is dead. THEN you will see it turn towards blue BUT it will be slow and your eyes will not see it day to day. That is why it is a good idea to take a picture each day looking down at your brush sitting on the bottom. THAT will help you see your progress so you don't get too discouraged!

    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: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Update, I have run the automatic pool vac and I am getting less and less stuff in it each time. I have used the leaf net, the leaf vacuum (gulper) and brushed the sides and bottom, I have run the pool vacuum that goes in the skimmer. I know there is still stuff down there but I have gotten all that I can without being able to see the bottom. I will keep it at 24 FC until it clears but so far the pool seems to be about the same color. I know stuff is getting cleared out because the filter pressure keeps increasing, then I backwash to drop it back down.

    Doing all this while battling strep and the flu have not been easy. I was hoping it would be a quicker process but ohhh well, at least I started a few months before swimming season starts.

    -Seth
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    OH NO Seth! You poor thing You and your pool are "sick" at the same time.........not fair!

    Seth, this is when you taking pictures will really help you see the difference in the color of the water. Your eyes will not see it day to day. Good job on getting as much as you could out. Do keep the efforts up. It WILL get better over time.

    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: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Updated picture today. The right is today and the left is the previous picture.

    I didn't do anything with it yesterday other than keep the pump running. This morning cleaned out the skimmer (had storms that dropped more leaves in the pool) and backwashed. I tested FC and it was at 18 with CC at <.5. I added 121 oz of 8.25% to get it back up to FC of 24. It appears to be less green and more to the milky blueish color.

    IMG_0385.jpg
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Now that is WHY I wanted you to do the pictures!! I am seeing it trying to go towards blue! Keep it up!! It will take some more time and chlorine but at least it is heading in the right direction!

    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: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Making progress... seems like I can see about 8 inches deeper. I can still only see about 2 of the 4 feet.

    IMG_0389.jpg

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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Getting better every day, keep up the great SLAMing!
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    I have kept it at shock level which hasn't been as easy with all the rain and storms we have had lately. I feel like it is improving but it is still really cloudy. The picture below was 5 days ago vs today. My main question is how much longer is this process going to take? I know it is something that cannot be rushed and a bunch of other factors go into it but man... I have been going at it for almost 3 weeks now.

    I believe I have most (not all because I cannot see the bottom) of the debris out of the pool. Is there anything I can do to help with the cloudy water? The filter pressure doesn't increase like it was a week or so ago. Then it would go up 8-10 psi in a 12 to 16 hour window now it has been 3 or 4 days and it has gone up maybe 3-4 psi. Would adding DE to the filter help or should I still just wait in the holding pattern I am currently in for the water to get clearer and clearer?

    Lastly, with all the storms and rain we have had should I let the FC drop down to 4 or 5 and retest all the other things like PH, Alk, Hardness, etc? I know water has spilled out of the pool with the rain we have had and I know that PH isn't reliable to test with the FC so high. Any advice is appreciated.

    -Seth

    image1.jpg
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Seth I would start putting your brush in the pool each time you take a pic so you can watch the water clear.

    Now it time and filter.....keep the FC at SLAM level AND make sure the pump is running.

    You can add DE to the sand but make sure you are there to keep an eye on it as each filter is different. You want to make sure the pressure does not jump up and cause problems when you first add it. You might need to do a backwash if it goes too high.

    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: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Thanks Kim! The pump has been running nonstop since I started this process. I have also put the brush in the pool and measure how deep I can put it before it disappears. I know it is getting clearer just seems like it is taking forever.

    What are your thoughts about letting the FC drop to test the PH, etc since we have had so much rain? Would it benefit me or should I just stay on the path of FC at SLAM level and wait?

    -Seth
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Nope.....keep at it. Rain has negligible effect on pool water.

    Have you considered putting a bit of DE in your sand filter? Each time you backwashed it would be thrown out, so you'd have to replace it again but it really helps catch the microscopic small stuff.

    Pool School - Add DE to a Sand Filter

    Yippee
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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    Re: Converting to salt water and opening extremely dirty pool.

    Hi Yippee,

    I went an purchased a bit of DE today and added 1/4 cup to my skimmer (mixed with water) and it made a noticeable difference on my pressure of the filter. I have watched it and it seems like it might be catching more stuff as the pressure is going up more. I will backwash when it got real high and then add another 1/4 cup (I imagine that the box I purchased from Home Depot will last me for about 10 years ).

    I made a platform out of PVC for the kids to play on a few years ago and I have 4" pvc tubes filled with sand to hold it down. Well when cleaning the pool after not closing it I was able to get the platform out of the pool but the weights stayed behind. Today I noticed that I can see the outline of one of them on the bottom of the pool. This is huge! Thanks for all the advice and hopefully it will clear up in the next week or so. When it does I will ask ya'll experts about getting the SWG started.

    -Seth
    30,000 gallons vinyl in ground L shaped pool with diving board and a deep end.

    Sand Filter, 2 skimmers, 1 main drain and 3 returns.

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