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Thread: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

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    The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Here's some background...

    Our pool is a 15x26 above ground oval pool that is three years old. It is in direct sunlight all day, but about twenty feet from the pool is a hundred year old Laurel Oak Tree. We purposely got an above ground pool because we didn't want to take the tree down. But, the relationship between the pool and the tree has become the bane of my existence. I spend all of my free time cleaning the pool and trying to balance the chemicals. The tree is constantly dropping leaves, acorns, pollen and other debree into the pool. I have had a yellow pool several times this summer (actually, it's recurring, not just summer) and I am trying to determine if it is algae or pollen. The reason I am uncertain is because it usually occurs after a heavy rain and the tree dumps it's stuff in the pool. I have been treating it as algae and dumping tons of bleach in the pool to get rid of it. Unfortunately, I haven't had a decent test kit until this week and my CYA and FC were very high. So, I spent two days draining some water off and refilling it and below are my test results from last evening.

    FC - 14
    CC - 0
    pH - 7.6
    TA - 110
    CH - 0
    CYA - 40
    Borates - not using borates, but would like to start.


    My questions are:
    1. Should I hold my FC, or any of my chemical levels, at a higher rate due to the tree?
    2. When you are testing CYA...I am adding water until I can not see the black spot at all, I mean completely gone, not just faint and hard to see. Is this correct?
    3. I read that Calcium Hardness is not that important with vinyl liners. Is this true or should I add calcium chloride to raise it?
    4. I also read that vinyl liners can take a high TA. Is 110 acceptable? I think it is a little high because of the tree.
    5. I want to add borates because I think it will help with the yellow algae. I am assuming it is at zero because I have never added any. I don't know how to measure borates, I don't think I have a test for it.
    6. And, lastly, I am working on some kind of cover for the pool that will allow me to cover it during the times we are not swimming and easily uncover it when we want to swim. I do not want a solar cover, the pool is in direct Florida sunlight all day and we don't need a solar cover. I was reading about the homemade solar reels, though. And, I was thinking about using the solar reel with shade fabric. I would hook it to my deck on one side and the solar reel on the other. When we want to use the pool, I could unhook it and roll it up. I'm still working on the specifics, but would appreciate any input.

    I apologize for the lengthy post, but I've been fighting this battle for a while and I need to win or else something has to come down.

    (I'm going to try to attach some pictures of what things look like)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Sorry to hear of the problem with your large tree. We have redwoods near our pool that drop debris year-round, especially after the wind comes up, so I can really sympathize.

    How much of your debris sinks to the bottom as compared to floats on the top? Does your skimmer do a very good job of getting the floating debris?
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    I have to empty the skimmer basket every day and sometimes it's so full of leaves I have to pull them out by hand because I can't get the basket out until I break the suction. I usually empty it two or three times a day now. And, I have to vacuum every other day or it becomes a problem. I used to use the automatic aqua critter, but it wasn't worth the hassle. It's quicker to vacuum it by hand. Most times I use the leaf rake (that hooks up to the garden hose), because it works better and quicker on the leaves. But, when I have the yellow algae I use the pool vacuum and either vacuum to waste or backwash when I'm done.

    I'm so tired of cleaning, I want to swim and enjoy it. Hopefully, with my new test kit and the knowledge I gained from this wonderful site, I'll be able to enjoy that. I definitely enjoy the BBB method, it makes it easier and cheaper for me.
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Try a Pool Skim... They work off a return, creating a venturi effect and skimming your surface.

    see AnnaK's page for info and testimony

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    +1 on the PoolSkim.

    Best $90 or $100 I've every spent on the pool. This little beast actually works 5-10 times better than my built-in pool skimmer.
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    I've seen the Pool Skim before, but wasn't convinced it would work for me. Doesn't it hinder the circulation of the pool water? And, my return jet is right next to my pool skimmer, so why would the Pool Skim work better than my skimmer? It seems like it wouldn't get the leaves at the other end of the pool.

    Believe me, it would be a lot cheaper to buy the Pool Skim, but I also have acorns falling in the pool, not to mention pollen or whatever else. I'm a lot more confident now that I have the proper test kit and my chemicals are within a decent range. But, I am tired of fighting to keep it clean every day.
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Quote Originally Posted by michelbie
    I've seen the Pool Skim before, but wasn't convinced it would work for me. Doesn't it hinder the circulation of the pool water?
    Do you only have 1 return (next to the skimmer?) If so, perhaps this isn't the solution for you, but if you had a return mid-pool or on the opposing side to the skimmer, that would provide double the skimming effect. The Pool Skim's venturi entrapment (wherever you decide to put it) would aid, not hinder, circulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by michelbie
    [...] but I also have acorns falling in the pool, not to mention pollen or whatever else.
    If whatever falls in the pool floats for a time, the Pool Skim may sweep them up before they sink.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    5. I want to add borates because I think it will help with the yellow algae. I am assuming it is at zero because I have never added any. I don't know how to measure borates, I don't think I have a test for it.

    so-you-want-to-add-borates-to-your-pool-why-and-how-t4921.html

    You will need some borate test strips; the LaMotte Borate test strips from Lamberts ($10 + small S&H) are the best ones I have come across.
    I got boric acid from AAA Chemicals I probably should have checked S&H from thechemistrystore?)
    The "Boric Acid Technical (orthoboric acid)" product is what you want

    Dumping in boric acid seemed way easier than the other method
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
    Pentair Whisper Flow Pump 1HP. Winter safety cover w anchors.
    Sand filter, Pentair Sand Dollar Top Mount Model SD80; Effective Filtration Area 3.5SF
    - FlowRate 75GPM, 8Hr 36,000, 10Hr 45,000, 12Hr 54,000; Pressure Weight 50PSI
    BBB (Hayward Chlorinator when leave town). Polaris 360 cleaner.

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Quote Originally Posted by polyvue
    Quote Originally Posted by michelbie
    I've seen the Pool Skim before, but wasn't convinced it would work for me. Doesn't it hinder the circulation of the pool water?
    Do you only have 1 return (next to the skimmer?) If so, perhaps this isn't the solution for you, but if you had a return mid-pool or on the opposing side to the skimmer, that would provide double the skimming effect. The Pool Skim's venturi entrapment (wherever you decide to put it) would aid, not hinder, circulation.

    Quote Originally Posted by michelbie
    [...] but I also have acorns falling in the pool, not to mention pollen or whatever else.
    If whatever falls in the pool floats for a time, the Pool Skim may sweep them up before they sink.
    It only hinders circulation if you don't empty the bag. I have a ton of maple trees and the Pool Skim is a god send for me. Having 1 return next to the skimmer is not an issue. It works 10 times better than the skimmer does. All you have to do is point it away from your skimmer. It will circulate the water around the pool so that anything not caught by the skimmer will be caught by the pool skim. Whether or not it will catch the acorns depends on if/how long they will float.
    Nicole

    21' AGP (10,400g)
    Hayward PowerFlo Matrix dual-speed 1HP pump, 75 sq ft Waterway cartridge filter
    4G Liquidator, Aquabot POOL ROVER S2-40

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Well, I think I'm going to try the PoolSkim. It's much cheaper than the alternative of a solar reel and cover I was going to try. Plus, I'll be covering the pool for the winter in about another month anyway.

    I appreciate all the advice, thanks.

    I'll let you all know how it works for me. It can only help improve my situation, right?

    Johnny B: Thanks, I did see that article, that's why I want to put the borates in. I need to get the test strips, though.
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    You said that "It seems like it wouldn't get the leaves at the other end of the pool" talking about the Poolskim. With the way your skimmer currently works, is it leaving leaves in one spot of your pool?

    I have a Poolskim and I only have one return that is next to the skimmer. I was using it and it was helping to catch the pine needles and was a good backup for the skimmer, but it was a pain to empty. The pine needles and beetles would get stuck in the net and I would have to stick my hands in and remove them, which freaked me out! I would imagine the leaves would dump out easier than the needles though. I decided to remove the Poolskim and just let the skimmer do the work. It is easier for me to dump out the skimmer basket than fight with the Poolskim net. Less contact with the bugs and such, but I do have to empty the skimmer more often.

    As for the circulation, I feel like I had good circulation with and without the Poolskim as long as I kept them both cleaned out. The water shooting out of the return goes through the Poolskim and then shoots out where the collection net is located. This throws the stuff it catches into the net and then the water goes through the net and circulates around the pool. It seemed to me that the only difference in water pressure with versus without a Poolskim was when the net had collected a bunch of junk. The Poolskim is definately a nice backup for the skimmer, but without it my skimmer eventually gets everything off the top. That's why I was wondering if yours does.

    Also, I read a tip on another post about using a ping pong ball to see how your water circulates. That was neat to do and gave me more confidence that I had the circulation that I needed.

    Now is where I will give the disclaimer that I am not an expert by far. This is my first year with a pool and I have been reading and learning a lot from this website, and I still have questions I am constantly asking! I just wanted to tell you my experience with the Poolskim. And the tree is beautiful! I bet it gives great shade, which is always welcome! I know it sucks to have to deal with the leaves, but your pool and yard has character where mine is boring and shadeless.
    24' Seaspray Evolution CLX Above Ground Pool (~13600 gallons)
    Pentair Sand Dollar SD60 / 22.5" filter / Maximum Flow Rate 60 GPM
    Pentair Dynamo Pump 1 1/2 HP

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    numberonenole,

    but it was a pain to empty. The pine needles and beetles would get stuck in the net and I would have to stick my hands in and remove them, which freaked me out!
    I have a lot of pine needles also. The inside of our PoolSkim net was sewn very roughly and would catch a lot of stuff. Someone else on TFP suggested to turn the net inside out so that the rough sewing would be on the outside. This helped out a lot with cleaning. Now I just hold the sewn end and put the open end over the trash can - a couple of "bounces" and the entire mess slides out into the garbage. We still get pine needles and other debris that get stuck in the net, though. I tend to ignore these and just put the net back on. Also, the net cleans up much easier if you let it dry out first.
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Do you think a Pool Skim would work in my situation?
    My Returns is two sawed off (half-inch?) pipes.
    I do have a Polaris it's male end screws into the female end that is in the wall
    I have 2 Jets that are a Return.

    Thanks
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
    Pentair Whisper Flow Pump 1HP. Winter safety cover w anchors.
    Sand filter, Pentair Sand Dollar Top Mount Model SD80; Effective Filtration Area 3.5SF
    - FlowRate 75GPM, 8Hr 36,000, 10Hr 45,000, 12Hr 54,000; Pressure Weight 50PSI
    BBB (Hayward Chlorinator when leave town). Polaris 360 cleaner.

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    I ordered the Pool Skim this morning and it comes with an extra bag. This way I can put a clean one on and let the dirty one dry out before I put it back on. I don't have pine needles, but I'll probably turn it inside out anyway.

    I don't really have a problem with the leaves gathering at one end of the pool. They just seem to sink before they can get to the skimmer. My concern is that I have a two speed pump and if I put the pump on high is it going to push all the leaves through the bag, or is it fine enough that it will keep the leaves in? I guess I'll find out in a few days when I get the Pool Skim.

    Another thing I've been dealing with...I have a ton of pock marks/divots in the bottom of my pool. Does anyone else have this problem? I'm afraid it's going to compromise my liner eventually. I'm not sure if it's the sand giving way underneath (we get massive storms her that 'cause a lot of ground water) or if the moles have gotten too close.
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    The extra bag will make it much easier. It didn't come with an extra one when I got mine, so that's a nice addition.

    The leaves will not get through. There is not much that does. Mine even catches small bugs.

    Yes, I have a million of them.. I can't say how they will affect the integrity of the liner. This is just my second year with it. I had the liner replaced last year and they did not do a proper job compacting the sand. Since the water pressure is low, it took a long time to fill and I didn't see the wrinkles/divots/pockmarks until the pool was already filled. So far, it hasn't cause any problems other than to annoy the heck out of me. Maybe someone else will check in that has a better answer.
    Nicole

    21' AGP (10,400g)
    Hayward PowerFlo Matrix dual-speed 1HP pump, 75 sq ft Waterway cartridge filter
    4G Liquidator, Aquabot POOL ROVER S2-40

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny B
    Do you think a Pool Skim would work in my situation?
    My Returns is two sawed off (half-inch?) pipes.
    I do have a Polaris it's male end screws into the female end that is in the wall
    I have 2 Jets that are a Return.
    Hey, Johnny B. The Pool Skim appears to have a pretty wide connection, recommend contacting the company to find out if it's doable with 1/2" return (measure inside diameter of the return pipe first to be sure.) Don't think you want to connect to a jet. Then follow this post -- I'm sure michelbie will let us know what she thinks of the performance!
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    Johnny B, I noticed on the installation video for PoolSkim that they have several adapters, but I couldn't tell if they had any for smaller pipes. I found this link in response to your question: http://x.havuz.org/viewtopic.php?t=7903

    Heatmsr, I hate the stupid pockmarks. Not only is it annoying while you are swimming, but it makes vacuuming a real pain! My pool is three years old and I only had one or two prior to this summer. Now, my liner is wrinkled on the side wall and I have a ton of pock marks in the bottom. We have a mole problem, so I thought they might be the cause of the marks near the edge, but not the ones in the center. Who knows? The moles are just something else I have to take care of.

    Thanks for all the input, I will let you know if the PoolSkim helps solve my leaf/algae problem. Oh, and the acorns do float for a little while before sinking to the bottom, so hopefully it will help there also. And, I am getting a new ladder because I am tired of the leaves getting trapped under the one I have.
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    FYI...I've had the PoolSkim for almost a week and it does seem to be helping. I think the tree is dropping less leaves, but the PoolSkim is really helping with the acorns and the bugs. It has probably cut my vacuuming down about 50%. So, I thank you for the suggestion. Oh, and having the extra bag is a big bonus. I just switch them out, let the dirty one dry, clean it out and switch them out again.
    Michele! =)

    10,000 gallon
    15' x 26' Oval AG
    26" two speed sand filter

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: The battle between the pool, the tree and me

    I have extra bag for each of my two PSs and I found out really quickly that turning the bag inside out really helps. Be sure to keep the strings clipped if you have a cleaner like the Aquabot that goes up to surface right by bag or the strings will get wound around the front scrubber.

    More importantly, if you have enough debris, as I do, I don't even rinse it out. I just take it off and dump into plant litter container and put right back on. I only use the extra bag(s) in fall and winter when the debris fills the bag (that hold a surprisingly huge amount of stuff) fills up very quickly with what seems like the whole forest. On heavy days I empty the two PS several times a day. Now that it's spring less stuff is entering pool but I still have to empty the bag daily or every other day. Keep in mind I have as much stuff going into my pool, on a daily basis, as MOST people have in a months time. The bags really really do hold a lot. The bag is somewhat sticky and catches finer stuff than you would expect. If there are a few larger pieces of plant/tree debris the really fine stuff like dust, pollen, and tiny bugs gets caught in the larger debris. The bag then compacts quite a bit. I have to give it a few good, hard shakes over the waste container to get the stuff to dislodge.

    Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Pool Skim(s)?

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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