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Thread: Time for sand change?

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    Unhappy Time for sand change?

    Hello,
    First time pool owner, just bought a new house that has a 28' Doughboy aboveground vinyl pool. Pump wasn't working for about a week (clogged?) and the water from nice sparkling clear to swamp water.

    We used a local pool shop and added over $350 worth of chemicals over about a two week span, everything from a "balancer" to help the chlorine be effective and stabilize, to a pH reducer, to over 20-30 1lb packs of Burnout 73, and a full bottle of "pool tonic". I have since myself added over 9 gallons of bleach to help as our free chlorine was only ever at 0.2 or lower.

    At this point, we are starting to smell chlorine a little, and the water is now at least blue, but still very cloudy, can see your hand maybe down 8" or so then it disappears. There appears to be no algae at this point.

    Is there something else we should do in order to get back to clear water or just keep adding chlorine/bleach? Is it possibly time to change the sand in our sand filter? It sounds involved and just not sure if it is necessary (pool is going on 2.5 years old now, presuming sand hasn't been changed by previous owner).

    Just looking for some advice, feeling frustrated that we are just pouring money down the drain in chemicals with nothing to show for it....

    Hopeful encouragement?! Lol.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    My first suggestion is to stop going to the pool store. Their only response it to sell you something, generally it doesn't help your pool.

    Second, don't change the sand - it doesn't wear out. But pool stores love to sell you more....

    I will tell you, it didn't get this way overnight and it will take time to clear. But, we can teach you how to get it sparkling and keep it that way for a lot less money than the pool store.

    Not much credence is given to pool store testing around here. While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. But, what can you do?? We base our pool care system on accurate testing and only adding what the pool needs, when it needs it. To do that you need your own accurate test kit. Order a TF100 and at least include the XL option. That will give you what you need while you are clearing the pool, and probably enough reagents for a couple of years normal use.

    While you wait for it to get delivered, you have a homework reading assignment. Start with ABCs of Water Chemistry and Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparkling Oasis
    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: Time for sand change?

    Thanks for the reply! I am seeing more and more in not going back to the pool store. I have done quite a bit of reading on here which was what led me to start doing liquid bleach instead of the crazy expensive bags we were doing....

    I am ordering the test kit and things now. The other thing I forgot to mention is there is a Polaris 65 hooked up to the return jet, and has been all along. THey said to always leave that attached, is that a good idea? I noted it raises the water pressure about 2-3psi (makes sense as it is restricting return flow).

    The other thing I am slightly concerned about is the pump itself, it at times can make a slight sound like it isn't completely suctioned/primed, like its got a leak, but everywhere I've checked it seems air tight. WHen it makes the noise from time to time, the psi gauge wavers slightly (back and forth about .5-1psi). ANd you can see the return hose vibrating/wiggling slightly. Not sure what to dive into on that one.

    Appreciate the help. Grabbing that TF100 now and hopefully can get things going better soon....

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Please edit your signature and add the following information so we can better frame our answers to you.


    • List what test kit you use to test your water
    • The size of your pool in gallons
    • If your pool is an AG (above ground) or IG (in ground)
    • If it's IG, tell us if it's vinyl, plaster/pebble, or fiberglass
    • The type filter you have (sand, DE, cartridge)
    • If you know, tell us the make and model of your pump and filter.
    • List any other equipment you have: SWG, second pump, etc.
    • Please mention if you fill the pool from a well or are currently on water restrictions


    Information in your signature will show up each time you post and it makes advice more accurate as we know what equipment we are dealing with.
    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: Time for sand change?

    Added signature Thanks again!
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Your sand is way too old, like 50,000,000 years or so. The 2.5 years in the filter isn't even a blink of an eye to sand.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Have you seen this - Pool School - Leak Detection
    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: Time for sand change?

    Haha thanks @Griswald. Touche.

    So I received the TF100 test kit and started my first round of true battle with the pool. We already had cleared up most of the green with "pool store" suggestions and way too much $$$ spent. But here we are.

    First round of testing at 6:55pm (before adding anything, so starting basis).
    CYA - 30
    pH - 7.5
    FC - 0
    CC - 0
    TC - 0

    Then we went and added 6 121oz bottles of standard Clorox bleach, which I must have overestimated and "over shocked" because at 7:25 we had test results of
    FC - 33
    CC - 1.5
    TC - 34.5

    So I added nothing given my shock level should have been around 16 I believe. We did do the brushing of the pool to help ensure all was well.

    8:05pm test
    FC - 27
    CC - 1.5
    TC - 28.5

    Again let it sit another 30 minutes. Man, I am getting good at these tests. A little more brushing....

    8:35pm test
    FC - 27
    CC - 1.5
    TC - 28.5
    CYA - 30 (maybe 32 if you count the distance it was below the 30 mark)
    TA - 230

    So I am inclined to let it go and maybe do the overnight loss test and see where I end up.

    A few questions that came of all this....

    When using Clorox bleach, the bottle labels it as 8.3% sodium hypochlorite, 91.7% other, and 7.9% available chlorine. So in pool math calculator, am I putting in the 7.9 or 8.3 as the %?

    If I need to add the stabilizer/CYA, what is the recommendation of what to add? Something I pick up at Wally world, or local pool store, or home improvement store? I never knew the bleach trick, so wondering if I am missing one for the CYA.

    Any other suggestions on next steps? Having followed the guide for algae to sparkling clear, and if I do the overnight loss test, presuming that is good and I move onto followup and maintain shock level for a couple days while it hopefully clears up further? If I add the DE to the filter, do I just pick up the 25lb bag of it that is meant for DE filters? Or is there a better recommendation for the small amount I presumably am adding to my sand filter?

    Thanks again, hoping I am on the path to learning lots!

    For 9:35pm test (overnight loss test)
    FC - 25
    CC - 1.5
    TC - 26.5
    Last edited by josha5690; 07-13-2017 at 09:01 PM. Reason: adding overnight initial test
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Quote Originally Posted by josha5690 View Post
    When using Clorox bleach, the bottle labels it as 8.3% sodium hypochlorite, 91.7% other, and 7.9% available chlorine. So in pool math calculator, am I putting in the 7.9 or 8.3 as the %?

    If I need to add the stabilizer/CYA, what is the recommendation of what to add? Something I pick up at Wally world, or local pool store, or home improvement store? I never knew the bleach trick, so wondering if I am missing one for the CYA.

    Any other suggestions on next steps? Having followed the guide for algae to sparkling clear, and if I do the overnight loss test, presuming that is good and I move onto followup and maintain shock level for a couple days while it hopefully clears up further? If I add the DE to the filter, do I just pick up the 25lb bag of it that is meant for DE filters? Or is there a better recommendation for the small amount I presumably am adding to my sand filter?

    Thanks again, hoping I am on the path to learning lots!

    For 9:35pm test (overnight loss test)
    FC - 25
    CC - 1.5
    TC - 26.5
    Maintain the SLAM until all 3 creiteria are met.

    Don't worry about CYA now, but the stuff at WalMart, Lowes or Home Depot is fine. It will say 98% or 100%.

    You can get pool DE ( got a friend with a DE filter that will give you a little?) or cellulose fiber DE replacement. I get that on Amazon.
    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: Time for sand change?

    7/14/17 - 6:10am
    FC - 20
    CC - 1.0
    TC - 21.0
    Overnight loss test - failed, on to day 2 of SLAM.
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

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    Re: Time for sand change?

    you are all over it

    keep it up and you will soon have a TFP pool
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Quote Originally Posted by josha5690 View Post
    When using Clorox bleach, the bottle labels it as 8.3% sodium hypochlorite, 91.7% other, and 7.9% available chlorine. So in pool math calculator, am I putting in the 7.9 or 8.3 as the %?
    I missed this question, in my defense it was late at night

    Use 8.25% bleach at the bottom or just type in 8.25 weight at the top where it does the calculations
    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: Time for sand change?

    Asking this, presuming I know the answer already....

    Can CYA go up without the addition of any stabilizer? Originally I was getting readings around 30 (4 days ago), and now we are getting a reading of 38 as of last night. Or can CYA readings on the TF100 kit be skewed based on the water chemistry/high FC levels?

    We are on our 4th day of operating only from the TF100 test kit, still failing the OCLT, last night started at 17.5, this morning was at 15 on FC. CC is staying down around 0.5. We still have cloudy water, but not as bad as it was, I can make out the bottom of the pool from time to time now, and the skimmer basket I can see the rock in the bottom of it. I am assuming we are still on the right path and just keep on top of it? Feels exhausting....but hopefully we are closing in on it!
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    First, no, CYA does not go up unless you add it or use a stabilized chlorine product (3" tabs or DiChlor shock)

    Second, how do,you get "38". All numbers on the tube end on a "0". Always read to the next highest.
    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: Time for sand change?

    Ok, I assumed that was the answer on the CYA.

    38 was relative in the sense that it was a touch over the 40 line, but well below the 30 on the cylinder. The other reading I had was "32" in the sense that it was a touch below the 30 line but well above the 40 line. So I was inferring the value based on the scale between them. Just feels odd to me for it to be so close to 40 but to read that as 30. But thanks for that!
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    No you have it backwards, always round UP to the next highest. So, both of your tests would read as 40.
    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: Time for sand change?

    Woohoo, I couldn't even wait to post, but I have (preliminary) passed the OCLT. Had the same FC at 16.5 this morning at 7am as we had at 10:15pm last night, with a CC of 0.5. The water is mostly clear (standing at the edge I can see the bottom halfway across this morning). Not sure what I should be able to see, but assuming that is fairly good at this point.

    So before I go and mess it up, can I get some recommendations?

    Should I give it another day to be on the safe side, or am I ok to probably start letting FC levels drift down to the normal target?

    What is the TFP recommended way of maintaining FC on a day to day basis? Daily testing using the more simple chlorine test, but then continue on using bleach or using a chlorine tablet floater or something else? If daily testing and continued bleach use, test in the morning, afternoon, evening and shoot for the high end of the range so it drifts down? Feels like in the day we lose quite a bit of FC (and thus use a lot of bleach), but maybe that changes now that we have things in line better?

    We have a doughboy thru wall skimmer and below the skimmer inlet there is a "vaccuum hose connection". A little adapter plugs into it and into the vaccuum hose. But there seems to be no suction unless we force close the skimmer opening, which then the water just wants to drain through the vaccuum hose, into the skimmer basket, but seems like that runs the pump dry then. Anyone have one of these and can explain what I'm missing?

    Anything else I should essentially know before going into this? I feel like I had other questions, but I can't remember them now, and I don't want to mess up all the hard work so far!

    Thanks again, I greatly appreciate the advice and feel much much much more comfortable with your support over the pool store!
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Ignore the question on the vaccuum, I found a manual online (previous owner hadn't left) and I have a better idea of how this is intended to work.
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Time for sand change?

    Passed the OCLT
    cc's at 0.5 or less
    Water is not clear
    Keep at it for another day, is should be clear to pass the SLAM criteria.
    For maintenance the bleach route is safest as pucks will add to your cya, and mess up that nice cya/FC relationship you have.
    Test daily and add daily, evenings preferred, this allows your added bleach to work in the dark for max effectiveness. In a few weeks you will have a set routine in place, and learn how much FC your pool uses per day.
    Lou - 13.5K Gal pool, AG Intex 24 X 52"
    19" Sand Filter/1 hp pump, Aqua Trol SWG
    90 sq ft Solar heat coupled with a SS heat exchanger/Hot Water Tank, Pentair SolarTouch
    Hayward DV-4000 suction pool cleaner "Freddie", Taylor k-2006

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    Re: Time for sand change?

    So having not had a pool like this before, what is "clear" or what should I expect? I should see the floor on the far side of the pool standing from the edge, as in 100% crystal clear? Just not sure what to expect
    18k gal 28' Round AG pool - Sand filter (Sparco Hi-Rate SF-40) - Pentair Optiflo 1hp Pump - Well water - TF100 Test Kit - Polaris 65 cleaner connected 24x7

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