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Thread: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

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    trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    we have a mid-70's in-ground clipped corner Grecian with a vinyl liner (had a new liner installed last year), 1HP Pump (possibly original), and a newly purchased Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter.
    we estimate that our pool is 32,000-36,000 gallons.

    we had a Heldor / Baquacil pool when i was little and it was my job to keep it maintained, so my pool knowledge is 25 years out of date which means i'm basically starting from zero knowledge here, and we're trying to use the BBB method as much as possible... and even though i've been reading Pool School and many other posts/threads in this forum for the last few months, i frequently get completely overwhelmed and utterly lost. but i'm trying!

    we bought this house as a foreclosure a couple of years ago, and the pool had been drained/ruined while the house sat empty. we had a new liner installed last year and we THOUGHT the people we hired to do that were also testing the integrity of the plumbing/etc but they didn't except to say "yep, pump works"

    the pool has one main drain (is that what it is called? looks like a white frisbee?) in the bottom of the deep end (our pool when i was little, even though bigger than this one and installed around the same time, didn't have one), and one in-wall skimmer.
    there are three eyeball type returns, one at the built-in steps and one on either side of the deep end.

    the in-wall skimmer has two holes in the bottom, that you see when you lift the skimmer basket, and there's a Thingie(tm) that can be slid to cover one or the other, or be left in the middle to leave them both open, which is where it is now.
    i do not know what they go to!

    last year, after we had the new liner installed, and got the pool filled... once the water level got over the returns, it wouldn't get any higher and never got high enough to reach the skimmer. a couple of the PVC pipes coming up out of the ground by the old DE filter had valves, so we tried switching them to the other direction, but still the water level wouldn't get above the returns - AND the ground between the pool and the platform the filter/pump are on had become thoroughly soggy (not muddy, just damp. and it hadn't rained.).

    at that point we figured there was a break in the plumbing somewhere, probably beneath the concrete sidewalk around the pool and we had spent pretty much all the money we had to spend on this project (and then some) so we just gave up and let it sit until about a month ago.

    i'm pretty sure the DE filter that was attached to the pool was original (Hayward Perflex EC65) and too small for the size of the pool to begin with. the only markings i've found on the pump is a sticker with the specs and the name A.O. Smith, Model C48K2N143C1C.

    now, going by the basis of SOME is better than NONE... my husband disconnected and capped off the pvc pipes from the existing plumbing, used expanding wingnut type plugs to seal the returns and ran new above ground piping from the pool to the DE filter. and we opened up the filter and cleaned it, as per the instructions in the manual (found online).... then connected it all together and tried that for about two weeks.

    along with LOTS of bleach, a dozen packages of 73% Calcium Hypochlorite shock. and two quarts of Rx Clear 60% Poly Algaecide. because we had a swamp from the pool sitting uncovered for a year.

    that gave some improvement, but the water returning to the pool from the filter was just as green/cloudy as the water in the pool - if not moreso.
    there's more, but to make the story as short as possible, i'll just skip to the punchline: my husband decided we needed a new filter.
    enter the Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter.
    still connected to the pool with above ground pipes (one in, one out).
    and lots more bleach.

    as of this afternoon, the water is murky/cloudy but not green. a little gray-ish at certain angles, but i can see the bottom of the shallow end!
    and there's lots of sediment that, when vacuumed out, looks exactly like the used DE that was in the old filter. so i'm thinking that's what it actually is, which would explain why it is so hard to get out.

    i have a 4-way test kit, and some 5-way test strips. i would love to get one of the good test kits but i simply CANNOT AFFORD IT. i'm not working, and my husband is self-employed and things are going so slowly that we don't have much money to throw at the pool right now. we can afford the bleach, and that's about it. and even that's just barely. so why am i bothering to try to make the pool usable? because we have already spent SO MUCH MONEY on it. i'm trying to make my husband not regret moving here any more than he already does.

    about a week ago, i made some money on ebay and we went to the nearest pool store and had them test the water, and bought a jug of stabilizer. according to their Pinpoint Computerized Analysis, our CYA was 9 so i got their 4lb jug of Poolife Stabilizer & Conditioner - which is 2lbs less than what their calculations said we needed (but was all i could afford, after buying lots of bleach). again, a little low is better than none, right?
    poured it in a sock, hung it in the water and it is mostly all dissolved now.

    i've been sweeping the pool surfaces at least once a day, which stirs up everything sitting on the bottom (what i think is old DE) and i think some of it gets removed by the filter, but the rest just settles back. i've vaccumed (to waste) some of it out, too.
    i've gotten nearly all, if not all, of the leaves/etc out of the deep end, but since i can't see, i'm not certain.

    now, the most recent test results, using both a strip and the test kit:
    the colour gauge on the test kit showed our pH as being around 7.2, and the strip said 8
    test kit doesn't register as high as our chlorine was, the test strip read TC 3ppm and FC 3ppm
    the test strip shows our TA is probably over 240
    and the test strip shows our Total hardness as being about 200


    so. now you know what i know. any assistance y'all can offer will be greatly appreciated.

    i know i need to get the pH & TA down, so i'm scrounging to see if i can come up with the money to get some muriatic acid tomorrow, even if i have to pay in change.
    but aside from that, i'm still lost.

    oh! and i'll put info about our pool in my sig, if someone would kindly help me figure out what i should say.
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Gosh. Where to start.

    Okay, I'm gonna stick to the chemistry side of things. I think (I think) you have the plumbing worked out?

    The 4 way kit, where did you get it? What brand?

    Can you find an HTH 6-way test kit from Wal-mart, for about $20? This kit will accurately tell you PH/TA. I'm not confident in the kit you are using, the way you describe the chlorine? How high does it go?

    Don't worry about the TA level for now. It's accurate PH results I'm concerned with at this time. So hold off on Muratic Acid for now.

    Right now I'd guestimate your CYA level to be 25 or so.

    What you need most of all is more chlorine, in the form of bleach. Using the pool calculator, determine how much bleach you need to reach a level of 12 FC. You'll have to use the strips to see if you are hitting above 10 when you dose.

    You need to hold the pool at shock level (12) until the FC holds overnight, the CC is .5 or less and since you are using strips - the water is crystal clear.

    If you need help learning to use the pool calculator, there is an article in pool school that tells you how to use it.

    Inground, Vinyl 32,000-36000 gallons (*figure out the actual, as that's a significant differance).
    1 HP Pump
    Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    thank you SO MUCH for reading my huge, crazy long and convoluted plea for help! and also thank you for being so nice, i honestly appreciate it ♥

    to begin, the test kit is from Ace Hardware, we got it last year when the pool liner was being installed. and the manufacturer is Jed Industries - it is model 00-486 on this page, with a picture: http://www.jedpooltools.com/page20.html
    the highest the colour scale goes for the chlorine in the kit is 3.0

    the pool calc says we need to add 4.3 of the big bottles of bleach to get it to 12ppm, but i think we only have 3 left. we also have some 3" chlorine pucks, so i can put a couple of those in the pump basket. and we've got some 73% Cal-Hypo powdered shock, if that would be helpful?

    we're planning to go out tomorrow for more bleach, and i'll see if i can scrounge up the money for the 6-way test kit if our local wallyworld has 'em. if we're not getting muriatic acid, i should be able to afford it!

    since the pool is a Grecian, instead of a rectangle, i wasn't sure how well the size calculations would work. when the guys measured our pool for the new liner, they said the deep end was deeper than any pool they'd seen in a long time and the first liner wasn't cut deep enough so it didn't fit, and they had to have it re-done.

    i'll go add the 3 gallons of bleach we do have, and measure the pool to see if i can get a better idea of the size.

    **edit: we only had two gallons of bleach left, so i added those, and measured the outside of the pool:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    half an hour after adding the two big bottles of bleach i used a test strip (AquaChek's 5-Way Test Strip tests for: Alkalinity, pH, Total Chlorine, Free Chlorine, and Calcium Hardness) and i think the TC is between 5-10 & the FC is around 3

    the colours don't quite match up with the comparator, so i don't know if i should round up, round down or average them out

    so, i took pictures! three pictures, one with flash, two without:




    and since i'm still trying to figure out the exact volume of the pool, i measured the depth in the shallow end - it is a little low right now (only a couple inches up onto the top step) and it is 32"
    since the deep end is slanty, i'm trying to figure out how to measure the deep, flat part.
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Yeah, um, I'm sorry that kit from Ace is not a good one....the strips are pretty worthless, but at least you can get an idea if chlorine is present. The Free Chlorine is what you want to be 12. The total chlorine is free plus Combined Chloromines (CC) which are not good. So if your TC is higher than your FC that's bad....makes sense?

    If you can find the Wallyworld kit that would be better... then we can get some decently accurate reads.

    You're gonna need more bleach.

    I'm not good at determining gallonage - hopefully someone with more knowledge can help out with that.
    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: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    yeah, i've figured out (the hard way) that this test kit just... isn't good for anything. i'd never even heard of test strips until we took a sample to a pool store to have them test it, and they had some for sale. (no, we didn't buy these strips there!)

    my husband insists that the pool is 36,000 gallons, so unless i find a way to calculate the volume of a multi-slanty-walled Grecian pool, i'll just stick with that. although i am gonna try to measure how deep the deep end is.

    we'll see if wallyworld has the 6-way test kits. if they don't, should i just get another 4-way? or should i try lowe's or the pool store?
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Ideally you want one of the recommended kits described here:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...kit_comparison
    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: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    yes, well, i'd love to get a nice test kit but i can't. we've got maybe $75 total to spend on everything (not just pool stuff) nonessential for the rest of the month. so i can either get bleach and some sunblock and some OFF and maybe we can go out for a fun fast food lunch/treat, or i can get the nice test kit.
    i don't mean to sound like a *@^!#, but i'm trying to do the best i can with what little money i've got.... because my husband is so upset and frustrated with the pool that he's thinking of filling it in with dirt. i don't want to see the $7k we've thrown at it in the last two years buried like that.

    so, thanks for the advice in your first response.
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    $7K into a pool your husband wants to destroy because of all the problems. $75 is a cheap insurance policy for sparkling water and no more problems.
    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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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by reebok
    $7K into a pool your husband wants to destroy because of all the problems. $75 is a cheap insurance policy for sparkling water and no more problems.

    You are right, but if you dont have it, ou dont have it, and I would not suggest anyone overextend themselves out of frustration. What you need is priceless, Princess! Its Pool Owner Patience, very closely related to financial patience, which I am sorely lacking of myself these days as I frantically scramble to save up to pay cash for my in ground guinite pool.

    It may take awhile, but when I buy it, it will be mine and a source of zero financial stress, because I didnt use credit to buy it!
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    That's all true guys, but if the money ain't there, that test kit will have to wait. I know this one - the company that moved us to Orlando tossed a bunch of us out on the street last year, and I've been trying to make it on consulting gigs since with a disabled wife and daughter, so I KNOW what it's like.

    We also have a tendency to nano-manage chemistry. But when you can be off by a few hundred gallons in the pool volume estimations, a ppm either way shouldn't be a sticking point.

    I think what you should do is get a bottle of distilled water and use it to dilute your sample water. The shot glass method is handy - one shot glass of pool water and a shot of distilled water. Test the mix and multiply the result by 2. If that doesn't get you enough measurement headroom, then use two shots of distilled water and multiply the result by 3. Just beware that the accuracy goes to 1/2 or 1/3 too. Be as accurate and consistent as you can about your testing, and I'm pretty sure that you can make this work until you can manage a better test kit.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    You are right, but if you dont have it, ou dont have it, and I would not suggest anyone overextend themselves out of frustration.
    yeah but that's not the picture I get from reading the post above. not buying groceries is different than not getting mcdonalds. you have to make your own choices, but having a pool is a big responsibility and is part of the ownership and maintenance of a house. I wouldn't consider any part of purchases for the upkeep and maitenance of the pool to be a non-essential purchase. especially from this website for something that's guaranteed to work 100%, not to mention a ton better than any other method hands down, and will save you a lot of money in the short and long run. everyone is different though, and you have to do what you think is right.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrailerTrashPrincess
    so, thanks for the advice in your first response.


    Let's review, folks. Because I think there appears to be a misunderstanding.

    I suggested OP pick up the 6-way HTH drop test kit. OP responded:

    Quote Originally Posted by TrailerTrashPrincess
    we'll see if wallyworld has the 6-way test kits. if they don't, should i just get another 4-way? or should i try lowe's or the pool store?
    Now, my thoughts were, I don't want someone wasting anymore money on substandard testing - so I responded with the "ideal" test kit recommendation.

    TTPrincess, I did not review the thread in it's entirety. Mods read hundreds of posts a day. We don't always have time to review each thread, to see the various issues that may affect one's ability to afford a kit. It is the ideal, but if you feel you can't afford it than so be it.

    My first recommendation, for the HTH 6 kit, is again, the only substitute I would recommend for the better kits. Not strips, not a 4 way or a test kit from Lowes or a Pool Store, as you would just be throwing away money.

    You can clear your pool with the help of the 6-way, because I did myself it 2 years ago. It will take a little longer, and your doing a little more guessing and will probably need more bleach than otherwise, but it's certainly doable.

    I did not mean to imply anything about the test kit and I think the thread has gotten off topic.

    Good luck.
    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

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    thanks, again. and, i think, yes, the thread got way off topic.

    we utterly and absolutely cannot afford the good test kits. maybe next year, or maybe i'll get one from Santa. but not before swimming season ends around here this year.
    i did look at wallyworld and Lowe's, and neither of them have the 6-way kits. i have a friend in another state who has some 6-way test strips left from before her move, and she's going to send me those.
    i know strips are not an ideal way to test, but at least i'll have another testing option.

    oh, and by "non-essential" i meant getting the bills paid. groceries, gas money, bleach for the pool - all of that - is what we had $75 left for, for the rest of the month. i tend to keep groceries stockpiled (not quite a food storage, but close) during the flush months, so that in the lean months all we have to get is perishables.

    anyway, i've been using bleach every evening and getting the pool anywhere between 10-14ppm FC, and testing it a few hours after sunrise (right before i go to bed) and it is holding pretty steady.
    i've got a feeling our CYA is still a little low, though.
    although i have been using some pucks, in addition to the bleach, because we have them and they need to be used up, and we could use the extra CYA.

    we were up later than usual yesterday (went to bed a little before noon - which for night shift workers is up way past our bedtime!)... the FC was about 10ppm when i went to bed and was 5ppm when i tested it a little after dark.

    i'm still thinking that the "stuff" on the floor of the pool is DE from the old filter, although it might be dead algae. i've gotten most of it up from the shallow end and the steps, and a lot from the deep end, but not all. and the deep end is still cloudy, although day before yesterday it was clear enough that i could just barely see the vacuum head down in the bottom (had it down there to pull water from there to go to the filter, to see if that would help clear it up - since we have a makeshift plumbing system. seemed to help.)

    i'm hoping that by august, the pool will be clear. here's hoping.

    thank you to Ohm_Boy & Lershac for understanding what it is like to be broke.
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Would you like a little good news? The pool probably holds closer to 23,000 gal - so you don't need to add as much chem (quick point - the 7' grecian walls are probably actually 6' and the over-all measurement should be 18' 6" X 36' 6" - those are the 'standard' dimensions for this type pool - I suppose that there could be a similar model with different dimensions, but don't think it's likely) I'm also assuming an 8' depth - I've dosed enough of these pools with salt to say 23,000.

    Ok, you are having trouble with the kits you have and which one to trust - take a fresh water sample down to a pool store that offers free testing to see which one is closest (when they try to sell you chems, just say "OH , I've got a big bucket of that at home "), then you know to ~ trust that parameter with that tester

    While it's not optimal nor preferable, I firmly believe that the good folks here at TFP CAN help you clear this mess without the good test kit! I'm seeing it as a challenge - we've gotten ~lazy, helping folks who actually know their numbers :P Even the test strips can, usually, indicate if there's a MAJOR problem - as you can't afford the good test kit, the best you can hope for is a swimmable pool - the only way to get to 'trouble free' is with the good kit If you can find and afford the HTH 6-way kit Ann spoke of, it would be a decent investment and go a good way towards allowing us to properly advise you, but I, at least, will do my personal best to help you tame this beast using what you already have/ can afford!

    For right now, keep the chlorine up and MAKE SURE the pH doesn't drop below 7.2! You can use the pucks and cal-hypo to help raise/ maintain the chlorine, but they come with a price - too much cal-hypo will raise the calcium and perhaps lead to scaling, the pucks will help raise the cya, which is good in your case, but will drive the pH down

    Just to reiterate, doing things this way is NOT optimal and may lead to 'emergency' chemical addition measures for scaling or other adjustments - I suppose that swimming in a pool with calcium scale is preferable to not being able to swim because the pool is a swamp

    If and when the economy turns around, you can get the good kit... and then we can talk about the plumbing leaks

    Sorry for the long post.

    Luv & Luk!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    To the OP.

    I bought a house last year, and was in the same situation as you. Pool set for 3 years, pump motor frozen, bad pump valve, and holes in the liner from the rigged up pool cover the foreclosure company built over it. Which resulted with rust stains from nails, and holes from the 2x4's falling in.

    It took $600 bucks to get the pool up and going. Bottom line, your not going to get the pool started for nothing. Trust me, I tried. I know it may seem like some people think it's a sales pitch, but that test kit will be your saving grace. I never knew it existed till I found this site. But I couldn't have done it without it.

    My advice is if you can't afford to get the test kit now, then you won't be able to afford getting the pool up and going this year. I say cover the pool, and wait till next year. And budget till you can afford the kit and chemicals.

    I'm not trying to be harsh, but from my experience, it takes $$$ to get someone else mess cleaned up and going, which from what you said earlier, seems you have done. Once you get it there, it won't cost all that much to keep going. A $70 test kit is better then guessing on $200 worth of chemicals you don't need.
    32'x16' vinyl in-ground. 8' Deep, 3' Shallow
    Est. 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 300lb Sand filter w/SP-0714T valve assembly.
    Hayward 1 1/2HP Super Pump swapped with a A.O. Smith Dual Speed Motor.
    1 Skim, 1 Drain, 2 Outlets

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    gsxr1181:
    if we hadn't already gotten SO CLOSE this year, that would be good advice. but since we live in Georgia and the swimming season can last clear until October (at least, i know i swam pretty much almost up until Hallowe'en when i was little) i think it is worth it to get this pool to a swimmable condition this year.
    if i gave up now and just covered it, then next year it would stay covered. but if i get it usable this year, then next year will easier.


    but, waste, THANK YOU!
    i've measured and re-measured the pool a couple of times in the last few days, trying to figure out the exact gallonage we have in there right now. i laid on the diving board and held our longest pole (the kind that is 8' long and extends to 16') upright in the deepest part of the deep end, and the water level (which is a little low) came up over the thingie that holds the two bits together, so i figured it was about 8'... but then trying to figure it out from there i was a little lost (the average of deepest+shallowest/2 didn't seem like it'd be accurate). i didn't entirely believe my husband when he kept saying the pool had 36,000 gallons, so i appreciate your knowledge!
    and, yes, good news is a fabulous thing!!

    if nothing else, that means that the filter we got is more than big enough (as opposed to just barely big enough) for this sized pool. small consolation, though, since we're still having to switch out the cartridges at least once a day! (we have two, so we switch them out and hose the other one off)

    there's a pool store less than a mile from our house, they won't be open again until Monday but i'll see if i can get my husband to take me there to get a water sample tested then. we've had our water tested there a couple of times already.

    as for the pH... the last time the pool store tested it it was 7.5. the week before their test showed it was 7.8 and the week before that it showed 7.2. we had used the BBB method and muriatic acid to adjust the levels... and since we were basing our numbers on my husband's pool-volume-math, that would explain why it kept fluctuating so much.

    but as for trying to figure out what the pH actually is (until monday when i can have it tested @the pool store), our test strip options go from a mustard-y yellow (pH of 6.2) through shades of orange and then up to a dark pink (for a pH of 8.4) and when i test it, the little colour square is usually the shade of orange that matches 7.2 but with an outline of the dark pink. so i've been averaging 7.2 & 8.4 and using 7.8 for the pool calc. i haven't actively added anything to lower it, though.
    all i've added since my first post is bleach, pucks & some Cal-Hypo.
    but i also used our (questionable) 4-way test kit to test the pH and it registered as the peachy-mauve shade that matches their 7.6 colour swatch. but then i left it alone for about five minutes and when i came back it was PURPLE and the highest colour swatch on the comparator is a deep pink. i've never seen it do that before
    so i guess i just have no idea if our pH is in the normal range, or if it is off the charts high.

    and, again, i appreciate your help!
    and i know that this is not the optimal way of doing things. between now and next spring, i'll be able to get a good test kit. but for the next two months, we're gonna do our best to limp along with what we've got.
    and, yes, next year i'd love to figure out what's wrong with the original plumbing and go back to that.

    so. that being said, i've been trying to keep the FC up, it did fall to around 5 for a day, but i've been trying to keep it around 10 (according to the strips. 10 being a violet purple colour, and our strip turns dark purple)
    and we've been running our filter 24/7 (well, more like 23.5/7) and switching out for a clean cartridge whenever the PSI goes 8 above, as per instructions.
    our test strips show both Free and Total Chlorine, but the numbers look like they match. when the FC fell to 5, the TC was also 5. again, i don't know if those numbers can be trusted, but i thought i'd mention it anyway.

    i've been sweeping it, and keeping the ick skimmed off the top.... and although there's still a fine layer of something (what i think is DE from the old filter, although it could be dead algae) on the bottom of the shallow end, the water is almost clear. but the deepest part of the deep end is still icky. cloudy/murky/gray.

    because the people at the pool store had listened to my description of what we had rigged up, and what we were trying to do, i figured i'd follow their instructions just to see if it helped. all we bought from them was the Cal-Hypo (i think 78%) & the stabilizer (which we needed), and used their guidelines of 6 bags every night.
    now, this was when our pool was still green, ok?
    but we added 6 bags of their shock at dark, then kept the FC levels up during the day with bleach, then another 6 bags of shock at dark and then bleach again the next day. so on the third day of that, and 12 big bottles of bleach later, our water was sparkling clear in the shallow end (except for the dust on the bottom)... so since we were SO CLOSE (and out of the powdered "shock") that's when we switched to bleach. and since then, we haven't been able to get the water clear like that again.

    i've got some POP, and i'll do what i can, but i'm mostly just at a loss as to what i'm doing wrong.

    all that being said, i added 3 big jugs of bleach about half an hour ago, so i'm gonna go test the water now (i'm testing in one of the "dead" spots that doesn't get much circulation.)

    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    Hi - I know way too little to be of substantive help to you, but I wanted to say great job in persisting and trying to use what you have available to get the pool back to a source of joy rather than frustration. These guys are great and will stick it out with you! Good luck.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    thanks, crek31!

    i mean, i know the getting a good test kit is fantastic advice. and if sales were going better for my husband (who is self employed) or if i managed to get a job (i'm unemployed, but not for lack of tryin'!) then we'd be able to get one this year. but i'm not gonna count on that, so that's why i'm trying to limp through with what i've got.

    and when i tested the water a little while ago - (using a 5-way strip) - half an hour after adding 3 big jugs of bleach - the FC matched the 3 block, but was ringed with a purple darker than the 10 block, and the TC matched the 5 block.
    but, then, i'm testing in a dead corner by the steps in the shallow end, and i laid on the diving board and poured the bleach into the deep end, because that's where the problem is.

    also, just as a side note, the 4lbs of stabilizer is almost completely dissolved out of the sock now. just a few little clumpy bits (maybe a quarter of a cup?) left.
    but i'm not gonna use any more pucks until after i can get the water tested again and see what our CYA level is. i *think* it should still either be low or in the acceptable range, but i reaaaally don't wanna take any chances.

    the shallow end is soooo close to being perfect, it is so tempting to just get in anyway. the temperature is perfect! but.. the deep end is icky. yes, it is the middle of the night and our outside lights aren't the best (they weren't designed for the pool, but for lighting the yard) but i swear the deep end has a greenish cast to it, that it didn't have when we went to bed around noon.
    maybe come sunrise i'll take some pictures

    small update:
    the greenish cast in the deep end? isn't actually green. i think it is just from where, yesterday, i had been sweeping the whatever-it-is on the floor of the pool towards the deep end, and it had settled. plus some leaves, 'cuz everytime i think i've gotten all the leaves out, i find more (there are SO many big tall trees near our pool that just love to aim their leaves just right to make 'em land in our pool!).

    and i'm so very, very glad we have two cartridges for our filter (er, one and a spare) because i've switched them out four times so far since midnight! (that's seven hours ago)
    the starting PSI is usually around 8 or 10, when it reaches 18 or so, i switch them out and hose off the other one.
    hopefully that's just because the filter is getting all the DE that i'm stirring up. hopefully. what's strange, though, is the last time the PSI had gone up to 18 and i switched out the cartridges, the one i took out didn't even look dirty! no leaves trapped in the folds or anything, and as i hosed it off i couldn't tell a difference in the colour between where i'd been over and where i hadn't! it was so weird!
    but the PSI was only 8 after i switched the cartridge out, so i'm sure there was something in there, even if i couldn't see it.
    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: trying to make our pathetic pool usable. help, please?

    ok, so i tested the water (5-way strip) about half an hour ago and here are the results:
    (click the pictures to see the full sized versions)




    three shots taken within a few seconds of each other. the darkest square on the comparator chart is 10 on the top two rows (TC & FC), 240 on the third (Total Alkalinity), pH is the fourth row and the bottom is Total Hardness.
    so it looks like the FC is at least 10. right?

    and then i took some pictures of the pool - all around 730 this morning.

    the shots of the pool sortof show how it is ... not sparkling. not green, but not clear.
    the shot that shows the steps, there's only about an inch of water on the top step. just for perspective.






    Inground, Vinyl 18x37 Grecian (probably 23,000?)
    1 HP Pump + Hayward C900 Cartridge Filter
    "rigged" aboveground plumbing.

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