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Thread: Hello from Sydney, Australia

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Hello from Sydney, Australia

    Hi All,

    Checking in from Sydney, Australia here - new occupier and maintainer (n.b. - not owner) of a property with a 70Kl (around 18500 Gal) saltwater pool.

    Never had a pool before and have not really encountered a lot of the chemistry that goes along with it, although I am scientifically minded and definitely love to tinker and get stuff 'just right' so it sounds like a match made in heaven. Also fairly lazy and love to automate, so will be interested to see what can be done with automatic monitoring, sampling etc.

    The pool itself is in-ground, fibreglass with a reasonably narrow concrete surround, and garden beds that like to donate organics regularly. No overhanging trees thankfully! Approx 17m x 3m, 1.4m deep with no gradient.
    Equipment is in the form of a basic -seeming Onga pump incorporating a filter, a Davey Chloromatic Salt Water Chlorinator, an Aquacal 'Heatwave SuperQuiet' heat pump, and a Swash Dolphin pool cleaner 'bot - which is fairly geriatric and behaves accordingly.
    We live in an exposed area of Sydney, with plenty of wind, strong sunlight and occasionally pouring rain - water levels will need to be carefully maintained. No pool cover, although there is an existing roller that I hope to reuse.

    In terms of testing equipment and supplies I've been left a handful of various dilapidated test kits, strips, etc.. binned the lot, except one bottle of test strips that were fine, and bought myself a 4-in-1 test kit that purports to do all the important stuff - free chlorine, pH, acid demand and total alkalinity. Also left a few bags of buffer, ph increaser, a box of stabilised chlorine, a drum of chlorine and god knows what else in the mess under the house..

    I've begun taking readings, and the situation chemically doesn't appear dire, however I'm sure the moment I start messing with the balance to improve things, it'll go all to ****. So far PH is remarkably good, sitting at 7.4-7.6, but free chlorine (DPD 1) is off the chart at 3+, the limit of my scale. Alkalinity appears low, at 50ppm, so a quick dump of buffer yesterday should see that improve soon enough... and so it begins.

    A few immediate concerns present themselves...
    • The pump has lost prime - easy to fix (youtube to the rescue) however I can't, because the access port is totally seized and will require a tool of some design to open without destroying. Tried letting it pick up prime on its own, but with the clogged filter basket (I suspect due to poor maintenance on behalf of the previous mob), it just can't pull enough water through.
    • The Chlorinator is also complaining that it is out of salt, so that means.. something?
    • The pool 'bot sucks.. but not in the way I need it to. It cleans immaculately the same 5-6m area of the pool when turned on, then decides it's had enough and goes back to sleep. It also requires manual prompting to run - this appears to be by design.. terrible, pointless design. I need to find a better way to clean the pool, or set aside time to babysit the cleaner and steer it around with the scoop, which does yield good results.
    • The pool filter covers, hoses, scoops and so on are all UV damaged and brittle or broken, and the hatches all require special tools to open and clean.. all of which are AWOL, of course.


    I'm somewhat limited by funding here - the owners will pay necessary costs for equipment repairs etc, however we get to do the work in order to enjoy the rewards. Fine by me, but I can't just go dropping thousands on new stuff for the heck of it.

    As for goals from the pool, we're just inching into winter here, with the first <10c mornings and evenings presenting in the last week. My partner and I are a little nuts and enjoy winter swimming, and with the aid of a good cover and the heat pump hope to be able to keep the pool at around 15-18c through winter. The place has an amazing view, and a fantastic bar and entertaining area adjoining the pool, so once spring rolls around and things start to warm up, I expect the pool will have plenty of use and will require more care and attention.

    I'll drop a few photos of the pool, setup and so on in a reply here, but for now, if you have any suggestions, ideas, warnings etc, I'm all ears.

    Cheers,
    Mak

  2. Back To Top    #2
    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Sydney, Australia

    Welcome to TFP! Good to have you here

    We use a system known as Trouble Free Pool Care (TFPC) which is covered by many articles in Pool School. Any reading you do there will be helpful, and as you work through taking control of your pool, some of us here will direct you to some of those as well as providing simple answers whenever possible. When I started, I found this thread to be a great primer: TFPC for Beginners

    You'll learn that you'll be needing better testing, including CYA (aka cyanuric acid, aka stabilizer). You'll also need to be able to test free chlorine (FC) more accurately than you can with your 4in1 kit. Calcium hardness (CH) will also be helpful. This test kit is recommended for Aussies: Total Pool Water Testing Kit, Fresh Water Clear Choice Labs

    Don't let the name "fresh water" throw you off. It's a complete kit for TFPC but lacks a salt test.

    You'll also need a way to test salt, although you can try just adding a bag of pool salt, and maybe another or two, until the salt indicator is gone. Turn off the salt water chlorinator (aka SWG, SWC or SWCG) for the day that you add salt, and remember to turn it back on the next day. If your water is less than 15C (60F) then you'll probably need salt test strips or a salt test kit, which is the best way to keep salt at the right level.

    The pump strainer lid is hard to remove on one pool I look after. I loosen the drain plug to relieve suction and it's easier to take off. You might be able to take a picture to a pool store and get a purpose-made handle that helps for removing. Post a picture of it, and we might have other suggestions. It's very important to get the debris out of the basket regularly, so that sounds like a priority.

    Great to hear that you're taking control of your water chemistry. The alternative of going to a pool $tore gets expensive real fast, and will not give you the amazing water you'll get with TFPC.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Mod Squad Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Sydney, Australia

    Welcome to the TFP forum!
    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Sydney, Australia

    Welcome to TFP!
    TFP Moderator
    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Hello from Sydney, Australia

    Thanks all for the warm welcome!
    Also, great advice, thanks Needsajet.

    I got the filter cover off last night with equal portions macgyver'ing and percussive maintenance (hammer), as I was concerned about letting the pool sit without the filter running for too many days. Used a dead blow hammer to (as gently as possible), crack the seal that the O-Ring had formed, then a length of wood clamped to the plastic handle to do the actual work turning it, as I didn't want to beat the snot out of it. The O ring had been liberally greased, but also had a lot of grit and silt which I think had cemented the lid in place a bit. Cleaned out that filter, also cleaned the cartridge and got prime back with no dramas - happy pump again.

    Will definitely look into that test kit - I've gone through the 'pool school' articles and see the need for some more serious metrics when it comes to the water chemistry. Is there a practical difference between Salt strips and test kits? I notice the same mob sell a 'salt water' kit, which had the additional Salt Drop test, up to 4000ppm - a $36 jump in price though. If there is no practical difference, an $18 set of ten test strips from Bunnings might do the job just fine.

    The cartridge filter is definitely cactus - however I couldn't see any brand markings on it, or the filter housing either. In the daylight I'll grab pics of the whole lot in case someone can ID it for me, but would I be safe enough to show up at a pool shop with the dimensions, if not the filter itself, and get a correct replacement?

    Cheers,
    Mak
    Saltwater 70Kl (18k Gal) Fibreglass In-Ground w/ Onga Pump, Cartridge Filter, Davey Chloromatic Salt Water Chlorinator, Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump, Swash Dolphin cleaner.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Hello from Sydney, Australia

    Good news on the pump strainer!

    For salt, test strips should be fine. Could you add the model number of your SWG? It should have a plenty wide range for strips to work for you.

    Are you talking about replacing the filter cartridge, or the entire filter including the housing?
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, K-1106 and CCL test kits; Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWCG 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; Other family pools 10K SWCG and 15K on liquid; PoolMath app subscriber; | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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