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Thread: Wow - A Site with answers to posts less than a year old!

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    MJCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Wow - A Site with answers to posts less than a year old!

    I'm thrilled to find this site! Other sites I have found have so little use that questions go unanswered for months.
    I look forward to the education from you and your other users.

    This is a very long post - I put all the details here in my Intro so I won't need as much info in my questions in the forums, I will just refer to this post for the details

    I bought a House last winter - and got a really nice pool with it. ( My first pool)
    For the first many months I only saw the Winter Cover, and some blurry pictures the old owners had of the pool.
    The Owners husband passed away unexpectedly, and she had no knowledge about anything to do with the pool - So it was just us and the Internet this first year.

    The Pool
    20 x 40 Inground Lazy L Concrete Painted Approx 20 years old
    3ft shallow end 8 ft cereal bowl deep end ( 25000 gal ??? I guess)

    The Pool Shed contained the following when I opened it:
    2, Half full 5 gal buckets of Bromine Tabs
    1/2 bottle Qt - Metal and Stain remover
    1 Gal pail of Alkalinity Increaser (* yes increaser - read on)
    1/3 Bottle Qt of Algecide
    1 Gal pail of Stabilizer.
    and 2 empty cans of the paint last used to paint the pool (several years ago)

    Opening -
    Winter cover was filled with water and leaves - pumped the water off for hours until I realized the level of the pool was dropping, I realized the cover leaked and would never completely empty. We pulled the cover to the shallow end and eventually pulled it off but dumped a lot of water and leaves in the process.

    Initial inspection - Water as green as the deepest ocean, and no sign of bottom - not even the first step of the stairs.
    Step 1 - Leaf rake for hours - worms - frogs and lots of leaves and twigs.
    Step 2 - reassemble the filter and pump, lubed the O rings cleaned the threads, remove plugs.
    Step 3 - raise water level to test out filter ( hoping a vacuum might speed up the cleaning)
    Step 4 - Test filter - Dome Top was cross threaded and would not open -not sure if it had sand in it or not.
    Filter began working fine - yes it had sand. But the filter sucked a LOT of air.
    Step 5 - Vaccum to waste - till filter basket filled (every 10 - 15 minutes) Surprisingly the pool began looking beter.
    Waited a week (work out of town) For sludge to settle
    Step 6 - repeat - Leaf rake, then vacuum
    Step 7 1st water test (Test Strips) TA - way off chart, Calcium way off charts, Bromine 0 PH off charts low
    Step 8 (Filter has no bromninator) Filled floating Brominator with tablets, Shocked Pool, added Algecide, added rust and stain remover. Test again No change in any readings. Brush and vacuum once daily from here on sometimes twice
    Step 9 Go back to the internet for Info.
    Step 10 - Bought 3 gal of Muriatic Acid to lower alkalinity - Used 2 and waited, brush and vacuum - Shock again!

    By now the green is gone, the water is still very cloudy, and I can barely make out the Main drain, I now see brown stains all over the bottom of the pool.

    From this point on each day brought improvements - each chemical treatment (shock, algecide or floculant) always caused clouding of the water, but it would clear a bit by the next day - never being crystal clear always hazy.

    I had Both valves replaced (Skimmer/vacuum and Main Drain) the skimmer now does not suck any air, the main drain sucks air after the pumping for about 5 minutes. I suspect I have a leak in a pipe somewhere. I run the filter for 7 hours starting at 11pm till about 6am then again for 6 hours from 11am till 5pm. I usually also turn it on when working on the pool early afternoons or when we would swim. I am out of town 4 days a week and then home for 3, so for those 4 days it is just the filter running, then for the 3 days I spend hours each day cleaning

    Total alkalinity never dopped much below 200, calcium remains sky high, and I finally resorted to punching holes in a 5 gal bucket with about 2" deep Bromine tabs to try to bring up the bromine. Bromine tests Ok 5ppm after shocking but drops off soon after). The water eventually cleared up - can see the drain fine details on the bottom of the deep end are fine, but at night with the light on I see millions of tiny reflections in the light. Then there were those pesty brown stains. I kept trying the metal and scale chemical, but only shocking and brushing seemed to help but not eliminate them. After a good shock, the stains would be lighter and gone from some areas - then I noticed - everywhere the stains appear there are calcium deposits all over the bottom of the pool, they bleach out the stain, but in a few days they turn brown again, and its time to shock again.

    The final Issue was paint chipping - my filter basket is always full of little flecks of paint, and the bottom shows more and more little paintless spots. Next spring a new paint job is on order.

    If you read all this - WOW - Thanks! any advice is appreciated,
    15x32 Lazy L Inground / Concrete - 20,000 US Gal 1979 build
    1.0Hp Maxiglass/ Sand Filter, 7th season with Pool
    Painted cement finish repainted 2011
    400,000 btu Pentair Master Temp NG

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Butterfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    South Carolina
    Wow, what an intro! Welcome to the site. Others will be by later for comments on the what-to-do-stuff. Again, welcome, you have come to the right place to get help.

    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

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  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    A few initial comments. It sounds like you have been doing well and have some idea what you are doing. Bromine isn't the best thing for an outdoor pool. It is possible to convert to chlorine, though it might take a while. Paint isn't the best finish, it will start chipping off again after not all that long. Depending on what is under the paint you might be able to just sandblast it off and not repaint. I'd love to see a full set of test numbers. If you have specific questions it might be best to start a new thread in an appropriate category for each of them.

    To lower alkalinity you add acid to bring the PH down to between 7.0 to 7.2, then aerate the pool till the PH comes back up, then retest the alkalinity and repeat as needed until you get the alkalinity to where you want it. You can aerate with a fountain, pointing a return up so it breaks the surface, air compressor, etc.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4
    mbar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Ashland PA
    Wow, it was a long post - but all of the information you gave was needed is needed. Unfortunately, I don't know how to run a bromine pool. But the fact that the water is always cloudy, and your calcium and alkalinity is off the charts makes perfect sense. Unfortunately the only way to lower the calcium level is to drain and refill - but you have to test the calcium level of your fill water - if it is high, then there isn't much you can do about it. If your fill water has lower calcium than in your pool, then that is what I would do.: Drain down about 1/3 the water at a time and refill until the calcium is in the 250 -400 range. This should also help the alkalinity (unless the fill water is high in alkalinity ). If you get your calcium down and your alkalinity is still high, then you can add muriatic acid till your ph is at 7.0 and aerate the water (you can turn up your return jets to bubble on top of the water, or use a fountain) this will lower the alkalinity while raising the ph. When the ph reaches 7.4 you have to add more acid to continue the process. The stains may be some kind of algae - I say this because they lighten up with the bromine,and when the bromine cgoes down the stains get darker. Since your pool is not holding bromine., I don't know if it is getting used up fighting algae, or you need to have something like cya to keep the sun from using up the bromine. To get rid of algae, you must take the sanitizer up to shock, and hold it there until the sanitizer holds overnight -at least this is what you do with chlorine - so I am sorry if I a wrong about the bromine Hopefully someone will answer the bromine question Anyway, another way to test the stain is to crush up some vitamin C tablets and put them in a sock and rub them on the stain - if it lightens up then it is probably a mineral (metal) stain, and can be removed with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). If the stain is old, the metal remover will not take the stains off the plaster - they are to sequester the metals that are in the water - they will not take the stain off the surface of the pool - you need to use the ascorbic acid first, and then the metal sequestering agent to bind with the metals to keep them in suspension so they don't fall out and land on the surface of the pool again. In my opinion you have to really kill all fo the algae before you can get clear water, and you have to get the alkalinity and calcium in check too. The paint chipping off the pool is probably due to the pool sitting so long unattended, and will need to be resurfaced when you can. I would reccommend having it resurfaced instead of painting, and when you do, you may want to switch from bromine to chlorine.Here is some info I found on the web, but it doesn;t mention cya for bromine, so if anyone knows the answer

    What is "Bromine"?
    Another chemical commonly used to sanitize a swimming pool is called "Bromine". The chemical bromine is very similar to pool chlorine in the way that bromine kills bacteria and harmful contaminants, but the two pool chemicals react in different ways. Bromine is most commonly used to sanitize spas/hot tubs because it is more stable than chlorine in the warmer spa water temperatures, and because of the lack of chemical odor in the water. The chemical bromine is preferred by many pool and spa owners because it causes less irritation of the skin and eyes. Because bromine is so stable, it can be harder to wash the chemical smell from your skin after bathing in a pool or spa that uses bromine. Bromine is available in tablet form and can be added to pool water using a chemical feeder to dissolve the tablets.

    The difference between chlorine and bromine is that once chlorine combines with bacteria or harmful organics to kill them, most of the chlorine is used up and will no longer work to sanitize your swimming pool. This "combined chlorine" will be burned off by the next shock treatment and removed from the pool water by the filter. When bromine combines with bacteria in pool water, the bromine is still active but combined with the bacteria and organic matter to neutralize these harmful contaminants. When you shock a bromine pool the shock treatment only burns off the harmful contaminants, and leaves a good portion of the bromine behind in the pool water. The bromine left behind is available to sanitize the pool again. The result is that the volume of bromine tablets needed to sanitize a swimming pool is noticeably less than the volume of chlorine needed to do the same job.

    There definite advantages and disadvantages to using bromine in a swimming pool. Bromine is considered better by some pool owners because bromine is usually much less irritating to the skin and eyes. Many pool owners with naturally sensitive skin prefer bromine, however bromine is chlorine based, and it will not help people who are allergic to chlorine. The disadvantage to bromine is that the chemical costs a good deal more per pound than chlorine.

    So I hope this helps, and please ask any other questions you may have Welcome to the forum, and you have certainly done a wonderful job getting your pool up and running so far 8)
    16x33 fiberglass pool sand filter

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Hi and welcome to TFP

    Unless you have a compelling reason to have a bromine pool, I would say to switch over to chlorine. In the interem, you can use bleach to 'revive' the bromine, and it's a great way to start the conversion - add bleach instead of bromine (as the article that Marie posted says, 'the bromine is not broken down when doing it's killing' the bleach will 'free-up' the combined bromine by oxidizing the algae or 'bio-nasties'. Over time, as Jason pointed out a long time, the bleach will replace the bromine and you'll end up with a chlorine pool, at which point you'll need to have some cyanuric acid (cya) in the water to protect the chlorine from UV degradation (bromine can not be 'stabilized'!) (I'm not a chemist - where are Richard or Evan, or Steve, when you need them - but chlorine and bromine are separate chemicals, though they are next to each other on the periodic table of elements and thereby have similar qualities).

    The cal and alk levels should be lowered, at least to a point that you can measure them to keep them in 'balance', draining some water is the only way to get rid of unwanted calcium and should help with lowering the alk - but do have the fill water tested so that you'll know what's being added to the pool.

    Sounds like you may need to think about 'resurfacing' / repainting the pool - if you can afford it, it would offer you a chance to 'start new' with the water and might be the best option for you, assuming that it would fit into your budget.

    Welcome to TFP and know that we'll always be here to help with any problems or questions you may encounter with your pool!!
    Luv& Luk

    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!)

  6. Back To Top    #6
    MJCP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Thanks for all the replies!
    I will continue the discussion in appropriate threads so others can contribute as well.
    15x32 Lazy L Inground / Concrete - 20,000 US Gal 1979 build
    1.0Hp Maxiglass/ Sand Filter, 7th season with Pool
    Painted cement finish repainted 2011
    400,000 btu Pentair Master Temp NG

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    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hi and welcome!

    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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