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Thread: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

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    AWJ's Avatar
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    Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    I've got some ideas and want to run them by you experienced folks. Just closed on the house today. Was all excited to go swimming right after but tested the water first with the TF 1000 kit. The water is a little cloudy and vinyl is stained a bit. No stains, or no stains on the bottom and the stains on the seats n stairs were lighter I think, when we viewed the house. I guess I didn't really notice on final walk through and didn't think it would be deal breaker. My first time testing so I did it twice. Topped off the pool between tests because I noticed air coming out the jets and the suction was gurglin.

    Here's the deal:
    FC .5
    CC .5
    PH 8.2
    TA 220
    CH 450
    CYA 75

    Figure the pool is about 2120 cubic foot, about 16k gallons. I want to be the BBB newbie master...

    I think we'd like the chlorine to be 2 or so. So we need to add the chlorine. Pool calculator says add 50oz bleach. I'm keen on that. Actually poured in about 2cups or 16 fl oz of liqui shock from SMART which I read is 10% chlorine. Did that when it got dark...

    but before I go adding chlorine, I gotta fix ph right? Muriatic acid? 131oz. I picked up 2 boxes of that mule team borax... can I use some of that? The pool calc is not showing but mentions borax. I gotta get ph down for the chlorine I add to be effective and I don't wanna swim in 8.2. My hanna ph/tds/ec tester crapped out on me a year ago and I'll get another. Don't like trying to match ph to color... but that's beside...

    TA should go down with pH if I understand correct so I don't adjust that.

    Would tds/ec give me a good reading on calcium content? I'll research it later and compare against the chem test to develop a working range in the future.

    speaking of calcium, we appear to be high and the water is cloudy. then again cya is high too - so that could be a combo punch or one or the other? Calculatlor says drain 56% of my water to hit 200. I do not really want to drain that much. But I will if I have to. Can I make it through the season, close the pool, then drain on opening next season? I'm in NC and expect to swim til september or so.

    there seems to be a little algae trying to fight through as well. There are stains developing; not sure if it's that black stuff that comes from under the vinyl or mustard, but I can work on that later.

    So I want to drain 46% of the water to start to deal with ca and cya. Fill er back up. Maybe clean the light calcium build up on the top side water line under the coping and scrub some stain on the stairs and buddy seat while I'm at it. After full, test again. I think chlorine will be low. pH should change so we'll see where its at then. Shock it, how much Bleach ya think? Go on from there for CYA n what not.

    Will this be good?
    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    I missed that cya chart. I see my target should be around 8 on chlorine with a cya of 75. I'll just add the rest of the liqui shock and test chlorine after. I also see that borax is to raise ph not lower it so we'll get some muriatic somewhere.

    I won't drain anything until I see the ph come down and get stable chlorine. Go from there. I don't want to swim in it until the ph gets down to at least 7.8 with a target of 7.4 and max low 7.2.

    I gotta get some sleep now.
    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Congrats on the new place! Very exciting (been in mine less than a year).

    First thing is to decide whether you're going to drain and refill to lower CYA and CH. Test the CH of your fill water first, if it's also high then the drain won't do much good. CYA 75 is "too high" but you could live with it for this season, it will come down some over time what with dilution from rain, and backwashing.

    If you do drain and refill, do that first, otherwise you are literally pouring chems down the drain. After you refill you'd do a new set of tests and we'd go from there. The rest of this note assumes you will not refill.

    The high CH can be okay as long as the pH and TA are low enough. I am suspicious about the TA, though. It is not uncommon for the TA reagent bottle to have static buildup which causes the drops to be too small, meaning the test takes more drops than it should, meaning it will read artificially high. First step is to repeat the TA test, wiping the dropper tip with a damp cloth every few drops, and keeping an eye on the drops to make sure they look normal size.

    Once you have a more confident TA result, then you can lower the pH. (The amount of acid needed to lower pH varies depending on the TA, so you do want a good TA number first.) It looks like you were thinking 131oz muriatic; I get much lower numbers from the Pool Calculator. (I can get 131oz dry acid, which is something different, to lower pH from 8.2 to 7.2 at TA 220. So I think you were not reading the pool calculator correctly.)

    Even after you repeat the test and are more confident about the amount of acid, I still suggest you do NOT do it all at once, as you are still guessing about the pool volume. Do maybe half what the pool calc says, let it circulate for an hour, then retest to see where you are.

    Once you get the pH under control, then you can dump in some bleach to get your FC up into range.

    If lowering the pH resolves the clouding, then it was calcium. If it doesn't resolve the clouding, then it's algae because of the low FC and you will need to shock.

    One other thing: Make sure the chlorinator doesn't have any leftover tabs in it. Leave it empty (unless you go away on vacation or something). You have enough CYA!
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Sounds like you have some organic staining on the vinyl taking hold because the chlorine level dropped to low as the CYA level rose.

    You can "manage" with 75, and hobble thru the rest of summer, you'll may still need to shock the pool though. Since the summer is half over, I'd try to make it thru and then you only have to drain for the winterization.

    Proper FC levels and those stains should be gone by the end of the season.
    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
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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    AWJ, Welcome!

    1. Drop your pH to the mid 7's.....do that now....don't wait...do that with muriatic acid...borax will raise your pH.....DO NOT use it.

    2. Shock your pool until your water is crystal clear. That'll require an FC level of about 24ppm and you'll need to hold it there by adding more chlorine as often as you can

    Once you get your water sparkling, I would suggest you drain some to get your CYA down to about 50-60. Probably a 20% drain will do it and that should get your CH down below 400 at the same time. Both CYA and CH will be manageable at those levels.

    PS - Do not underestimate how much bleach it will take....everybody does and they start to get cold feet halfway thru the process. You must keep the faith and keep your FC up above 20 until...

    1. Your pool water is sparkling
    2. Your CC's are .5ppm or less
    3. You can hold your FC overnight without losing more than 1ppm.

    You may well find the high levels of FC will make the stains disappear or diminsh. The scaling needs to be dealt with seperately. High pH combined with fairly high CH are the cause.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Thanks all for the feedback! If any of you are ever passing by (my) neck of the woods - drinks are on me.

    PaulR, you are correct - I read the calculator incorrectly. I will test TA again but I'm fairly sure it is in the neighborhood of 220. I will follow your recommendation of going slow on the acid. I should be adding about 2 quarts muriatic and I'll do it 1 quart at a time. But I'll test again before hand. This is going to be the first and most urgent thing we do tonight based on all the excellent feedback here from everyone. There are chlorine tabs in the chlorinator now. It was full to the top when I looked in there yesterday. I'll get them out asap. I'm at the office now and don't expect to get back to the house until about 9pm tonight.

    I've got my better half searching down some muriatic now. I asked her to check the big box stores first. Hit the pool store if necessary. I'm already not liking the local pool shop as they missed two inspection appointments and I had to source an inspector out of town. But that's a different story. We gotta do what we gotta do.

    Sounds like I'll be hitting the bleach hard.

    Kind of disappointing as we were hoping to be swimming yesterday but I don't want to get in a pool at this current condition.

    I'm not going to drain. I'm going to fix the ph slowly tonight with a target of mid 7 - maybe say 7.2 at the lowest. Once I see pH in the neighborhood of 7.4 I'm going to dump bleach to hit 28 FC and test twice daily keeping FC to at least 20 until I see the things Duraleigh has mentioned. We can drain at the end of the season. I'm going to try and keep this thread alive until I have a pool I can jump in. Is it reasonable to think I can go swimming August 1? I've got a business trip next week for 3 days so I'll need to get my sweetie up to speed on checking and adding chlorine while I'm gone. Sounds like I need her to keep it as high as possible until we get clear water and I can stress to her that we do not want to skimp on the bleach.
    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Yes, if you hit hard with shocking (and it will be ALOT of bleach) you can clear your pool and swim by Aug. 1. Testing up to every hour will speed things up, espeically hourly in the evening, or when the sun is not consuming the FC too.
    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: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Is it reasonable to think I can go swimming August 1? I've got a business trip next week for 3 days so I'll need to get my sweetie up to speed on checking and adding chlorine while I'm gone. Sounds like I need her to keep it as high as possible until we get clear water and I can stress to her that we do not want to skimp on the bleach.
    With that great attitude and approach to adding the bleach, you will be swimming in July.....promise.

    Almost everyone gets fainthearted with this process and starts dabbling in the bleach. The key is to test carefully and dose carefully and consistently.......keeping your FC as high as is safe (about 20ppm in your case) but never letting it get too low so it becomes inneffective. Based on your post above, I think you are in for some sparkling pool water in the near future.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Got to the house last night and tested ph and cl on the quick test. Cl showed about 2 and ph was still 8. So I dumped 1qt muriatic and went to mickey D's. They didn't give me all my food but we had already gotten back to the house. You just can't rely on common hourly help anymore. Some of the skilled folks are totally unreliable too and it's a shame. TA showed 200 with the wipe method per PaulR. I guess that little bit of cl I added the night before did something.

    Oh yea... tested the water after we finished our shorted order. pH was about 7.8. So I hit it up with another quart of muriatic. Ran over to the chlorinator to get those tabs out of there. Couldn't get them out. It was dark and my gloves would not let me get a grip. Thing is full to the top. These things up cya right? So I turned the dial at the bottom of the chlorinator to off. I also started dumping the bleach. Actually dumped the rest of the SMART liqui shock 10% cl in there. It was about .5gal. Then I dumped two 3 quart containers of red max bleach I had picked up with the muriatic at Lowes. I also dumped about 3 gal lowes foods brand cl. Wait about 1 hr. So now we have about .5 gal muriatic added. That muriatic is nasty stuff... get a wiff of that and you'll sit down eh?

    pH tested between 6.8 and 7.2. Lets say 7.
    FC showed 5
    CC 11?
    TA 150 - it's going down?
    I didn't do calcium - 450 from previous results
    CYA between 70 and 80 say 75 again

    I thought I had read that aerating would raise pH a little so I opened the aerators on the buddy seats and turned the jets wide open.

    My new neighbors probably think I'm crazy out there late on a Thursday night going in and out of the house making splashing noises and talking about drops and counting with the better half. Not to mention all the bleach we are toting around.

    Pool calc said add 6.9 - 96 oz jugs of bleach to get to 28 fc target. We had 5 182oz jugs so I dumped 4 in. We drank a beer or two and watched - it seemed like things were clearing up before our eyes. This barely noticeable white foamy stuff started to form in a few random swatches and get sucked out the skimmer. The stains on the vinyl are reduced already and it seemed like we could see the water clearing up in front of us? The rust looking stain on the seats and stairs were unchanged. Probably is that organic build up then on that liner. I did scrub them with the hand vac the night before after adding some shock. So frustratedpoolmom and duraleigh is onto something.

    It was now midnight so I turned in. With no furniture in the house. We were going to head back towards Raleigh for an hour drive but the job is in Roxboro and I felt so wooped from the day that I had to crash. Slept on a wood floor with a pillow. I'm a bit soar this morning. Going to go back out and do a ph test and fc test. I don't want to screw with pH today but it's a little low. I will be adding chlorine this morning I think but we only have one 182 oz jug left so I may leave directions for the lady. I'll swing by again tonight and do quick chlorine and ph test. Probably add more chlorine. But I gotta go to Raleigh from work first so it'll be late tonight again.

    Then we do the big move tomorrow. Hope to jump in the pool after that if the pH gets to 7.2 with aerating.... or should I wait week and observe until FC is down to 8 and give it a week or so at 20 or until 1ppm or less is lost in a day? I'll be back.

    Ninja edit: test this morning shows
    pH 6.8
    FC 1
    CC 3.5

    Guess all that chlorine got burned up. Gotta go get a whole lot more. Should I add borax? I'll do it slowly. Maybe half a box at a time. Calc says 1.1 box. Request the lady to get 20 jugs of bleach and add 4 more of the 182 oz jugs asap. Will be back tonight.
    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    AWJ,

    You're trying to do too many things at once. Focus solely on your chlorine management until your pool is crystal clear.

    Dose carefully. Your pH overdose is not dangerous but you certainly don't want your chemistry bouncing around like that. If you'll put in one half box of 20 mule team borax (ONLY to bring your pH up and ONLY one half Box) that get your pH in the low 7's and that's okay.

    Next, disregard borates. That will come later. Focus on keeping your chlorine up. The more you let it drop below shock value and the longer you let it stay below shock value, the longer it will take to clear your pool.

    If I haven't mentioned it yet....Focus on keeping your chlorine at shock value (but not above)

    Sorry to be a bulldog but it really is that important....disregard all the other stuff until your pool is clear.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    I agree, slow down a little. I'm glad you are seeing progress, but you over-corrected the PH by adding too much Muratic Acid. Don't add any more, and aerating with your jets should be enough alone to raise the PH back to 7.4. If the jets didn't do the trick, add the borax to get the PH at least to 7.2.

    Then leave both PH/TA alone until you complete the shocking process.

    Once you are done shocking, and that should be your focus now...if there are any other remaining issues, high TA, stains... we can help you tackle those later.

    Just shock!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    For now, focus on the chlorine, keep it at shock level as consistently as you reasonably can. (Hey, is there an echo in here?)

    Also do try to get the chlorinator emptied out. With tabs and water in there, they will continue to dissolve, and the inside of the chlorinator will become very acidic. Not Good.

    You saw the TA go down because you added acid; that reduces both pH and TA. But with your chlorine at shock levels the pH test becomes unreliable, so don't test pH again until you're done with the shock process. You are done when
    - the FC drops no more than 1ppm overnight
    - the CC is 0.5 or less
    - the water is clear.

    Good luck on the move...
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Also do try to get the chlorinator emptied out.
    Good thought, Paul.

    It's my own comfort level, but I handle pucks all the time with my hands. I simply put them in a place to dry out and wash may hands with soap and water.....No problemo.

    (That said, I had cousins who's last words were, "Hey, ya'll, watch this!!")
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    I simply put them in a place to dry out and wash may hands with soap and water.....No problemo.
    Right, do NOT put wet tabs back in the bucket.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    (That said, I had cousins who's last words were, "Hey, ya'll, watch this!!")
    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
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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    I simply put them in a place to dry out and wash may hands with soap and water.....No problemo.
    Right, do NOT put wet tabs back in the bucket.
    --paulr
    yeah that would be bad. oh, that reminds me, I have a friend who did this and I happened to mention this to him in casual conversation and he wondered what would happen?
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    I really like you guys already. We should have a meet n greet sometime.

    Don't apologize for being a bulldog. I appreciate it. Learned my best lessons that way. That and by getting a hard knock or two. No need for details. I was young.

    I got it. Chlorine. We got a metric ton of it between me and her today. I really wanted to check this thread sooner but the intarweb was out at work. My better half was able to get the FC up to 8.5 this morning but I'd say it's dropped again. I gotta get back there and test chlorine. I'll forget the rest until we hit shock level and hold ppm -1 over a day.

    So I'm out here in what the locals call "the quay" for one of our last days... funny how you seem to run across really cool people in a certain locale right before you move. Ran into a really cool fella on the road during my excessive drive from work. Will be great to be finally settled after the next week or so.

    I have no significant pool news but I always have an incessant need to write too much. Should have been writer but I find myself turning wrenches and doing the thinking for a group of people that don't like my answers. But it pays the bills....

    I tend to ramble folks... more pool news later.

    Thanks again. Chlorine is the focus. I will not hit pH until we hit 28 and hold 20 for a few days. Problem is that the pool is not rectangular. It's a lagoon shape wierd kind of mutated oval that trips me out on a buzz... or so I might imagine if I ever manage to catch one in the near future. I'm fairly comfortable with the 16k gal estimate though and the results so far have been just about as predicted with the calculator and the input of you fine folks.

    Oh and the phrase "Hey y'all, watch this" is kentucky regional dialect? Did I mention I lived in ky for quite some time... ? My better half is of the "Hey y'all watch this" persuasion. I find myself ducking for cover on occasion... it gets real exciting when her kinfolk come to visit...

    Problem is, I just can't seem to get a hand hold of the tabs. I'll give it another try and if no luck I'll use a screwdriver and a wet vac? Sound good? Or maybe an old fork or my two prong grill tool. I could use a new grill fork...
    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    Got thinngs somewhat together. Moving is hard on the back. Still not done. I'll pay someone next time. Moving seemed easier a few years ago.

    Tested fc this morning around 2am after some Friday night Saturday morning shenanigans...

    We hit 24 at one point and last check was 20. CC's are 0 to .5. There is just the slightest tinge of pink with dpd reagent 3, after the 5 drops. Sun is at it's highest now. I'm going to wait to evening to test again.

    Got those chlorine pucks out of there. I wound up just using my hands. Worked out okay.

    Thanks again! The water is really looking good now. I'll post a picture when I get a chance.,
    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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    Re: Looking for advice, new pool owner with first test results

    I feel like a seasoned veteran.

    We've been swimming trouble free for some time now.

    Getting ready to learn the touch of borates...
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    17x29 Lagoon Left foxpool 3' to 5'6", Vermiculite bottom braced to plan, Dolphin Tile w/ Krinkle, Floor vinyl line 28 mil pow fab, Foxxguard wall and coping, Inwall ladder - white rail, 1hp Whisper flo, TR-60 Sand Filter, 2 bottom drain and two 2" return inlet, Chlorinator, safety line and skimmer, Polaris 360 cleaner, Amerilite White, Meyco Cover, 6' radius - white rails walk in steps, 6' buddy seat, Exercise bar, 3" water hog deck drain 48'

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