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Thread: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

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    Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Man, this is a great forum. I've learned so much over the last three days in from the forum than anything my pool guy could have taught me. I wish I would have found the site a year-and-a-half ago. I have so many questions, so I'll try to keep my intro short and direct the questions to the appropriate forums.

    By way of introduction, my name is and I live in northwest Houston with my family and a golden retriever). We built the house and pool in September '08 and have had it maintained by a pool guy since the beginning. The kids really love the pool and we've never really had problems with it except for last summer. It started out as a saltwater pool but had an issue last year when a bunch of white flakes came out of the returns. I thought maybe it was because we have flagstone in the water and the salt was eating away at it.
    The pool guy said it was due to us only having him come out every other week instead of every week. At $50 a visit, it seemed kind of expensive to me to pay $200/month to have someone mess with a few chemicals and brush out the pool. So, he says that if we were only going to have him come out every other week, then make it a chlorine pool. He said he would do it for $165, and I figured it was more economical than shelling out and additional $100/month.

    To make a long story short, a couple of weeks ago he tells my wife that it was getting too expensive for him to come out every other week, that the prices of his chemicals were rising and that he was losing money by doing our pool. The accounting department (aka, my wife) tells him "no thanks" and tells engineering and maintenance (aka, me) to figure out how to do it myself.

    I've since ordered a TF-100 test kit and am slowly realizing by reading this board that this pool maintenance thing isn't as daunting as I think it is. As a reference, while I'm waiting for the TF-100 to arrive here are the results of water sample I took to the local pool supply store on 13-May:

    FC: 0.0
    TC: 0.0
    CC: 0.0
    pH: 8.2
    Hardness: 300
    Alkalinity: 105
    CYA: 70
    Copper: 0.0
    Iron: 0.0
    Total Dissolved Solids: Not Run

    They then recommended to add 2pt 11 oz. Muriatic Acid (which I did), and add 5.0 oz 3" or 1" tablets (which I assume are the pucks). A friend also recommended I add some shock, which I did (Super Zappit)- because that's what he does with his pool.

    And THEN I find Troublefreepool and learn all about CYA and stuff and kick myself for not reading more before spending $150 at the PS store. It's rained the last two nights here, so I took another sample there this morning:

    FC: 6.0
    TC: 6.0
    CC: 0.0
    pH: 8.2
    Hardness: 350 (the guy tells me that hard water is normal for this area; we have a water softener so I didn't know)
    Alkalinity: 100
    CYA: 80

    ...other tests weren't run. Guy tells me to add another 2 pt 11.0 oz Muriatic Acid.

    So here I am. I'm not making another move until I hear from outside consulting experts (aka, you guys).

    Thanks for your attention and I'm glad to be here.

    edit: for typos
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    BTW, I am going BBB as soon as I get my kit. Accounting hesitated at first until I compared the prices for her.

    Anything I need to do now besides add more acid?
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Welcome to the forum!! (My assumption is that's an A&M Aggie in your username. My son is headed down there this fall on an Air Force scholarship to be in the Corps. We are very proud of him and he is very proud to be attending such a great school with a great tradition.)

    Now, let's get your pH down first (rather quickly....don't let it go more than a day or so) with some more muriatic acid. I suggest a half gallon to get it down into a 7.3 range. You might want to put in a quart, circulate for 30-60 minutes, then test and add again so you don't overshoot.

    Next, please add roughly 1 gallon (not one jug) of Clorox into your pool each day until your kit gets to you. The kit will likely get you some different readings than your current ones and the kit is normally more accurate.

    That's all I would do for now. Don't add any more shock or pucks and don't run your SWG just yet but you will probably want to restart it once you get the hang of this stuff. It'll come to you very easily.

    One of the Mods may move this into "just getting started" or edit your intro from the pool problems. They may just leave it where it is.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    OOOh, screen enclosure, that must be nice.

    Hi and welcome. I'm not an expert but I am a neighbor. A pro will be along shortly but I can help a little bit.

    That Super Zapit is 73% Cal-Hypo and while it gives a great chlorine kick, it also raises Hardness (CH). You are at the top of the range for CH so stop using that for now. Keep it on hand. At the end of winter or after Big Rains that overflow the pool you may find that CH has dropped and you can use that again. I like to keep it on hand, but I depend on bleach most of the time.

    Next, your CYA is high also. So no more pucks. Again, if you replace water or if the pool overflows with rain you may find that CYA has dropped. You may need to drain water to get down to the 30-50 range, but I'll let someone else make that call.

    pH is indeed too high and so you will want to add Muriatic Acid (MA) again to lower. You can calculate how much to add by using the Pool Calculator. Frequent addition of MA will work to lower the Alkalinity (TA) over time as well. Our fill water is 380 - 400 TA and so if you are adding water you are going to be fighting that all the time. Once you are comfortable with what you are doing you will want to actively work to lower TA to something like 90-ish, just to get ahead of the game. But that is for later, particularly since you may be needing to drain and refill some to get CYA down.

    Find a source for bleach. Walmart has been running low, Sam's Club has it, a bit more expensive. Sometimes grocery stores have good prices. You need 6% unscented. Not dollar store types. Not anything that does not state concentration. You need Muriatic Acid. I get that at HomeDepot but there are other places as well. You need to get a Wall Whale brush. I got mine at Warehouse Pool Supply. You are supposed to brush the pool all over once a week. That is probably all I use for my pool.

    Oh, I do have the TF100 test kit. Good choice to buy that.

    For now, add some bleach to the pool. Stop using pucks and stop using ZapIt. Get the FC up to 10 --- or drain some water and get the CYA down to about 50 and keep the FC in the range of 4 - 8. Run it up to 8, then add bleach again, timed so that it never gets below 4.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Thanks Dave! You assumed correctly, I'm Class of '93. Congratulations to your son! That's awesome! He'll be heading down to fish camp later this summer I assume? I was non-reg in my time in Aggieland, but I've heard more than a few times from some Corps guys I know that he'll go through a lot this fall, but the friends he makes his fish year will be his friends for life.

    As far as my pool, I don't think I have a SWG anymore. There is, however, a tube that I filled with 8 pucks Thursday when my first sample read FC = 0.0. I turned the output down to "1" though when the pool store guy told me my FC = 6.0 today.

    Should I just leave them in there or take them out?
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Thanks anonapersona!

    I've read about draining the pool to lower CYA, and I've really wanted to avoid doing that, but I don't know the first thing about doing that. I'm sure there's a valve I can turn somewhere, no?
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Nothing to add, other than welcome to TFP!
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
    TF Test Kits - Pool Math - Pool School
    "It depends."- JohnT

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Take a look around the piping to the filter, just before or past the pump. On my setup, at least, there is a hose bib right there.

    When the pump is running for the filter, I can attach a hose there and drain to wherever I want until it gets to the level of the skimmers.

    I have not drained to below the skimmers, and to do that involves knowing what the various valves are in order to shut off the intake from the skimmers. I have not done that yet. When I was lowering CYA I drained there and and filled at the same time with a hose stuck into the deep end on the advice of the pool store.

    Their theory was that CYA was lower at the surface and if you add to the bottom and remove from the top, you won't waste water. I now think that is dumb, the CYA will be evenly distributed in the water. And I suspect that the main drains in the deep end were running all that time although I have not looked at that really. In any case, I was draining some of the fresh water I was putting in.

    I do need to get comfortable with this draining thing anyhow as my neighbor told me just today that part of hurricane preparation is to drain the pool halfway down. I had not heard that. Apparently someone in the next block did not know that and during Ike had his pool overflowed into his house when a tree fell and cracked the side of the elevated spa. The pool was a bit higher than his house apparently. Major damage to the house and contents, or course. We did not own this house during Ike so this part is new to me.

    I am wary of playing with those valves. The Aqualink system takes care of them. When we had a service come to check the pool for leaks, the tech manually opened and closed several valves during testing. He left some in the wrong position and when we turned the pool on the spa almost overflowed as water was going in the wrong direction with some valves working opposite what was expected.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Cablinaggie,
    Yeah, take the pucks out of the chlorinator for now. They constantly add CYA and you may have a little too much already. We'll see when you get your kit.

    For now, just chlorinate using the Clorox. For convenience, you could put in one small jug each evening (96 oz instead of the gallon I mentioned earlier) and that'll be close enough to keep you where you need to be.

    Again, aside from getting your pH down, we're just sorta' marking time until you can post some test results from your own kit......don't be surprised if they are different from the pool store.....that's why we're waiting.

    Yes, it's soon to be Fishcamp for Junior!! He relishes the discipline (as long as it's not from his parents) and I think it will be an environment that's perfect for him.

    Being a North Carolinian, I had never learned of the remarkable traditions of the school until now. What a great place!

    He says he has already learned most of the Aggie jokes during his earlier visit (so he can have comebacks ready) and that he has learned that UT is to be despised regardless of the circumstance!
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Thanks for the advice, I will take the pucks out and put some acid in this evening. This may seem like a silly question, how does everyone measure the right amount of muriatic acid going in? Do you put it into a measuring container first or pour directly into the pool? I opened a bottle Thursday night and it felt like taking a puff of my first cigarette.

    And Dave,

    UT = The University of Tennessee

    t.u. = the rival school in Austin

    Lots of silly traditions like that, but also great ones like Muster and Midnight Yell Practice.

    Again, good luck to your son and thank you so much for the help.
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    For as much as you need, I would purchase a gallon (You'll use it all sooner or later) and remove the cap and place it partially into the water near a flowing return. By placing it partially in, the displacement will take away much of the weight and you should be able to simply pour what you would guess to be a quart into the pool.

    That close to the surface, you will get no splash and you can see the acid blend immediately into the pool water. Retesting and recalculating an hour or so later, you should be able to make a more precise measurement with a plastic measuring cup or perhaps even repeat the same thing if your good at guessing a quart.

    pH changes are not precise and don't always turn out exact so this rather rudimentary way of adding is usually fine for me. Others will prefer to be more precise.

    t.u. = the rival school in Austin
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    I use a quart sized plastic measuring cup. Nothing expensive, just strong enough to hold liquids.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Looks like a great pool! White flakes in the pool don't mean flagstone is being eaten. If you still have your SWG (did you take it out? did the pool guy steal it?), you may want to continue using it once you get your kit and get other things figured out.

    If you post some pictures of your pool equipment, we can help you figure that out too.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Hi cablinaggie,

    Houston, another Texas BBB'er cleared for landing! Welcome to the forum
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
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    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    pictures edited out
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    I would recommend doing a thorough filter cleaning just so you know how, and to get a pressure baseline. Backwashing won't hurt anything, just make sure you have DE so you can refill the filter afterwards.

    The thing in the bottom right of the third picture that says "intellichlor" is your salt cell. If that's a current picture, you still have it.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Quote Originally Posted by Melt In The Sun
    I would recommend doing a thorough filter cleaning just so you know how, and to get a pressure baseline. Backwashing won't hurt anything, just make sure you have DE so you can refill the filter afterwards.

    The thing in the bottom right of the third picture that says "intellichlor" is your salt cell. If that's a current picture, you still have it.
    Thanks, Melt. I took that picture yesterday so it's still there.

    What would it take for me to switch it back to a SWCG, and is it recommended? Is it something I can do myself?
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    I would use the SWG. and PHEW! I thought I read your pool guy walked off with your SWG for $165.

    To use it I would get all of your chemical levels to their proper levels, then add/check your current salt level, then turn it on.

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Quote Originally Posted by cablinaggie
    Thanks again for the suggestions!

    I don't think I have the SWG anymore. Honestly, I don't even know what it would look like because I rarely went behind by the pool equipment while someone else was maintaining it.
    On another note, I feel pretty stupid now, saying that now that I know what "IntelliChlor" means.

    If it was a snake the **** thing would've bit me.
    18,000 freeform plaster AGP w/ spa, Pentair FNS Plus 48 sq ft DE (flow rate 120), 2 hp Pentair WhisperFlo, 1.5 hp booster, Pentair EasyTouch 8, Legend pool cleaner, Intellichlor IC40, Mastertemp 400 heater, screen enclosure

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    Re: Greetings from cablinaggie in Houston, TX

    Definitely see if you can get that cell operating.

    The white flakes were most likely just scale coming off the cell blades from too high PH.

    Welcome to TFP!
    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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