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Thread: My pool is a swamp!

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    My pool is a swamp!

    My pool motor broke and during the course of getting a new one, my pool got algae and now looks like a swamp, literally. I wouldn't be surprised if there were alligators swimming in there! I want to drain the pool and start fresh, but I live in Phoenix. I am told that a plaster pool will crack if I do it now due to the heat. We're still in the 100's here. What are the proper temperatures to drain a pool?

    I just can't see dumping a ton of money in chemicals to get it back to blue, when draining might be the most sanitary thing? It's just really grossing me out! I would love some suggestions. Thanks!
    CuriousMark

    18 x 36 Inground with internal spa, aquarite SWCG and electric cover.

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    Welcome to TFP! you have come to the right place!

    You will not need to drain the pool, but you will need a lot of bleach and a good test kit, like the one linked in my signature. Also in my signature you will find Jason's calculator, which will tell you how much bleach you need to shock. You will need to know your CYA or stabilizer levels to determine the shock level.

    Please let us know your pool specs (size, volume, rfilter type) and post any numbers you have: FC (probably 0) pH, TA, CH. CYA (probably high!)

    If you have debris in the bottom, scoop it out with a leaf rake or vacuum. Even vac'ing blind is better than nothing!!

    get that info, and we will be glad to help!

    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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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    You don't have to spend a bunch to clean it up. Head to Walmart and buy a shopping cart full of Great Value bleach, a jug of distilled water and a 6-way pool test kit. Use one of the pool calculators and add enough bleach (about 5 of the 3quart jugs for every 10,000 gallons of water your pool holds) to get your pool to 25ppm chlorine. Recheck it every four hours for the first day, then every 8 hours the next couple of days. You can test this high level by diluting a pool water sample with 4 parts distilled water, testing the mixture and then multiplying the reading by 5.

    Even if you drain, you'll wind up with algae again unless you are really careful with the cleanup.
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    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Thanks for the great info. So even with a slick layer of "goo" forming across the top of the water, the bleach can sanitize it enough?

    John, what did you mean when you said, even if i drain, i'd end up with algae again? What does careful clean up consist of and is cleanup different for draining than just for shocking?

    I know my pool is 21,000 gallons. I haven't taken any readings since it went swampy. I can't bear to touch it. I will be getting the new motor on Saturday and hopefully installed then as well, to get that circulation going. I have a DE Filter. My pool has pop up cleaners as well, but they dont work very well. Water really doesn't circulate well. Only 2-4 work at all. The rest are non-functional. The plaster is flaking, tile is falling off. I had my pH and TA pretty well balanced prior to this. When we first moved in, end of last year, my CYA was over 300. Just prior to the motor quitting it was so low I could barely calculate it. The water here evaporates so quickly that I was adding water daily, so I assume that was why it changed. The auto-fill doesn't work either.

    So Bleach is better than just dumping a bunch of chlorine in?

    At some point I'm going to have to drain it I think (can you tell i really want to?) because of all the other work that needs to be done. Not to mention the spa heater is broken and the button that turns on the bubbles.

    Thanks again for the help. I'l look at the calculators this weekend. I appreciate it!
    CuriousMark

    18 x 36 Inground with internal spa, aquarite SWCG and electric cover.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samiamisme
    Thanks for the great info. So even with a slick layer of "goo" forming across the top of the water, the bleach can sanitize it enough?
    No matter how ugly it is, chlorine and filtration will clean it up. You can go from almost black to cloudy-blue in three days if you are persistent in monitoring and maintaing your high chlorine level.

    Quote Originally Posted by samiamisme
    John, what did you mean when you said, even if i drain, i'd end up with algae again? What does careful clean up consist of and is cleanup different for draining than just for shocking?
    When you drain the pool, the filter, plumbing and the pool walls will still be covered with algae. If you add water, the algae will take off again. There are pool structural risks involved in draining.


    Quote Originally Posted by samiamisme
    So Bleach is better than just dumping a bunch of chlorine in?
    Bleach is chlorine. You can buy higher concentration at the pool store, where they call it liquid shock, or you can just use what they sell in the laundry department. It's all sodium hypochlorite. It doesn't add things to the pool that can cause other problems, and it doesn't need to be dissolved first.


    In your pool, each of the small jugs of Great Value bleach from Walmart will add 2.1ppm to your pool, while the big jugs will add 3.9ppm. Your pool is about the same size as mine, and I had a major algae bloom this spring which took me about 30 of the 3 quart jugs to clear up over about a week.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    This is such great, useful information. Thank you so much for clearing up all my questions. It makes sense to me.

    Do I just dump all the chlorine in all at once? Should the filter be running 24/7 during this timeframe, especially since my pop-ups don't function well? How many times during this process do you think I'll need to change the filters/DE?

    Hope I'm not questioning you to death! Thanks!
    CuriousMark

    18 x 36 Inground with internal spa, aquarite SWCG and electric cover.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samiamisme
    This is such great, useful information. Thank you so much for clearing up all my questions. It makes sense to me.

    Do I just dump all the chlorine in all at once? Should the filter be running 24/7 during this timeframe, especially since my pop-ups don't function well? How many times during this process do you think I'll need to change the filters/DE?

    Hope I'm not questioning you to death! Thanks!
    You'll need to put in enough chlorine to get to 25ppm on the first dose, then whatever it needs each time you test. That means 8.8 gallons your first shot in your pool. Pour it in slowly with the pump running, and leave the pump running 24/7 until you have clear water.

    You will have to clean the filter a lot. DE filters are very good at cleaning the water, and when you have a lot of algae in the water, they tend to clog pretty quickly. Some people report hourly backwashing being required, but that would be pretty extreme. If you can't keep up with the filter, you can run on recirculate to maximize the algae killing, but you'll slow down the water clearing process.

    Brush, vacuum or run an automatic cleaner as much as you can during the process to expose the algae to the chlorine and to help the filter clear the water. After the first 24 hours you should notice a significant change in the water. It may be cloudier, but the color will probably lighten. After two or three days (maybe sooner), you will see the water change from a cloudy green to a cloudy blue-gray. You aren't done when that happens, but the algae is dead.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    samiamisme,
    Just wanted to add that if you use laundry bleach, make sure it is unscented, and not the splashless variety. Just plain Jane bleach.
    Poor Man's Pool
    Doughboy 18 ft round above ground
    7600 gal with center drain
    Pentair sand filter, 1 HP pump
    50 ppm borates
    "I know just enough to be dangerous"
    Pool Calc Ver 1.41 (Excel)

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    Hi there samiamisme! I'm in Phoenix, too.

    You'll get it cleaned up, in no time, with the advice given here.

    You definitely don't want to drain it during this heat - it needs to be below 90 to drain - and you don't need to anyway.
    Even if there are some bad stains, you will be surprised how they will lighten over time, when you keep your water in balance.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

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    Go the new motor put in & then we put in the bleach and next day went from dark, swamp, can't see the floor, to a light, cloudy swimming pool blue color. I can see the entire spa bottom and the pool steps/shallow end floor. So that was encouraging. Been brushing the heck out of it. I had a pool man suggest backwashing 3-4 times a day. I noticed yesterday (day 2) that the pressure was at 40, so I backwashed, but was unsure how long to let it run, so I just did it for about 2 minutes. I know typically it's supposed to run until the water runs clear, but in this case I don't expect that to happen soon. Also, would I still replace the DE EACH time I backwashed?

    I'm not sure at what point to change the filters either....wait a few more days or do it immediately?

    I can't see the deep end yet, too cloudy, but I will vacuum this evening & take my readings.

    I've been taking pictures too, so I'll post them once it's all said and done.

    Thanks!
    CuriousMark

    18 x 36 Inground with internal spa, aquarite SWCG and electric cover.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    You need to add DE every time you backwash. I'm not sure what you mean by "changing the filters".
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Do you have a cartridge filter with added DE?

    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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    I meant the DE "container" with the filters inside. I'm probably calling it the wrong thing. I'm not sure if they are cartridge type or not. There are about 12 individual rectangular grids made of a mesh type material.

    How long should I let the backwash run & how much DE do I add each time?
    CuriousMark

    18 x 36 Inground with internal spa, aquarite SWCG and electric cover.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samiamisme
    I meant the DE "container" with the filters inside. I'm probably calling it the wrong thing. I'm not sure if they are cartridge type or not. There are about 12 individual rectangular grids made of a mesh type material.

    How long should I let the backwash run & how much DE do I add each time?
    I think you are referring to the grids. These are coated with DE when you add it. The grids themselves can become clogged, and the manufacturer usually provides instructions for cleaning these to improve water flow. This is usually done with a diluted muriatic acid solution. They only need to be replaced when they get holes in them that won't hold the DE. The amount of DE that needs to be added depends on the filter. It should be printed somewhere on the filter.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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