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Thread: [UPD 3/22/2008] Pool Neglected - For a long time...

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    [UPD 3/22/2008] Pool Neglected - For a long time...

    Hello all, I purchased a home with a 23 year old Sylvan in-ground plaster pool. It's 16x32 though I don't know avg depth I estimate 17,000 gallons. It has original plaster though I believe the filter/pump have been upgraded at least once. I've been reading the forums since before I purchased the house so it's been many months. Received during the winter a Taylor K-2006 kit and took initial numbers the other day. The pool was meticulously maintained up until a couple years ago at which point the older woman who lived here had it closed and it stayed closed for at least 1 summer, more than likely 3 full summers and winters.

    FC 0
    CC didn't test
    ph 7.2
    TA 70
    CH 80
    CYA 0

    Though it's not included in the pictures the water was extremely cloudy, maybe 1.5-2ft visibility and is murky brown. The plaster is rough and tiny gritty sandy pieces will come off into my fingers if I rub it. The plaster is quite brown. It looks as though the top smooth surface is long gone.

    My goal is to use the pool perhaps 1-2 summers before replastering and renovation. I at least have to see the condition of the pool before ordering replastering so I have to open it. As shown in the pictures, 1-2 of the decking slabs have sank in a bit and the extremely soggy yard and recent downpours filled up the pool from under the cover. I do not believe the pool leaks but I cannot say for sure yet. If I drain it down the level stays down. If I fill it up the level stays high.

    When I originally was looking at the house I hired a pool guy to come in and do an inspection. He tested the pump, light and pressure tested the plumbing. He decided the plumbing was fine but the lamp didn't light for whatever reason (it didn't trip the GFCI so not that kind of problem, probably a burnt out bulb). The pump sounds fine though we didn't run it with water, we ran it dry for a second or two.

    I assume the CYA is 0 because the bacteria over the last couple years has eaten the CYA so I'll probably have to use an absolute ton of chlorine. The sample was not cloudy - AT ALL.

    My strategy is probably going to be to use cal hypo to perform an initial shock with the water on recirc. Open the skimmers and get the water clear. Then vacuum the mud from the bottom of the pool on waste, then hopefully be fine. Maybe get a couple skimmer socks. The skimmer look okay and had bottles half-full of water in them. We didn't have a really hard freeze this year. I have a lot of things I need but I don't have any recent chemicals, all old stuff sitting in the garage. Is it okay to use the old chlorine and DE up? Also I need a wheeled vacuum head, and a vacuum hose and probably a skimmer adapter. I also need a very long waste hose so I can get it to the driveway. Any suggestions as to a good cheap place to buy from? I also have a ton of leslie's chemials in the garage... ph increaser, reducer, TA adjustors, etc. All trash?

    Any suggestions in terms of my strategy? I've been reading a lot but that's NO substitute for experience. Any suggestions are most welcome. Should I hold off opening until it's warmer?

    UPDATE:
    Today I got up nice and early and completely R&R'd the rear fence of my yard. Looks good. (pics included) I then proceeded to empty the water tubes from one side of the pool and began to uncover it. Man those decomposing earthworms/algae on the cover are horrible smelling. When I got the cover pulled to one end I learned a tough lesson. I'm not that strong! I had to drain out the rest of the water off of the cover before I could pull it completely off of the water. The water underneath was mud/green colored and visibility was about 1ft. (I had trouble seeing the return plugs). Speaking of the return plugs, I had to reach deep into the skimmer to pull them and that was absolutely positively nasty - not to mention brutally cold. I took a plug out of both skimmers and took a plug out of what I assume are the returns underneath each skimmer. I took one final plug out of the pump basket. There's no eyeballs for the returns so I have to buy them I suppose... Not sure how important they are? My multiport valve was pretty well stuck so I opened it up and lubed everything up and it seems to work now. The spider gasket is still okay. I installed the DE filter (a simple matter of pushing the filter into the bucket). tighten the nuts until the spring coils touch (again, couldn't be simpler). Fill the pump basket and start up in recirc. The pump primes and proceeds to empty my skimmers - FAST. So I filled the pool up to the halfway mark on the tiles and it still did it. I eventually figured out that you need to regulate the intake or perhaps return valves a little bit until you get it filtering and thus get some head pressure in the system. Adding the DE was as easy as I thought it would be, I just made sure to do it slowly to a fast moving skimmer. The system went up to about 6 psi and is now around 10psi hours later and rising. When I got everything stable i cleaned up the rest of the water tubes and took a break. I added the granular dichlor later. poolcalc informed me I should add 2 cup 3 oz and I did just that. We'll see I looked a little later on and I could see to the bottom of the steps. I *definitely* need to vacuum the muck out. It's all brown and filthy.

    The pics are updated!

    And of course everyone's favorite. PICS!
    http://picasaweb.google.com/evaporated/NeglectedPool/

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You want to get as much debris out of the pool as possible before you start shocking. If there are large piles of debris on the bottom the algae can hide out from the chlorine in the debris and you will have a very tough time getting the water clear. The cover looks to be more or less intact, it might not be so bad underneath (though it will be tough to tell for sure either way till the water is clearer).

    Most of the chemicals are probably still good, as long as the containers are intact and they haven't gotten water in them or been in direct sunlight. Most of them will still be useful, perhaps not ideal in every case but there is no point in throwing them out (unless they have gotten wet or visibly spoiled in some other way).

    I would start as soon as you have time and aren't expecting any more freezing weather. I would pull the cover off and start fishing out as much debris as you can using skimmer nets and garden rakes. Even if you can't see what you are doing you should be able to make some fairly good progress. While that is happening top the water off, get the pump and filter running (but not drawing from the main drain if there is one), and start doing some basic water balancing (PH, TA, CH, and CYA). When it seems like you have most of the debris out shock the pool and maintain shock level till the water clears. As the water clears up continue getting all the debris out you can. I am leaving out lots of details, each step could do with a little planning out and updating based on what you discover as you go.

    It won't be till the water is clear and the pool basically clean before you can really evaluate the plaster. The chemistry is a lot better than it might have been. It is difficult to know what kind of shape the plaster will really be in.
    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

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    Piku, sounds like you already know what and how to take care of the pool Any liquid chlorine you may have could have deteriorated, but the dry chems should still be good (there is nothing wrong/bad about the 'pool store' chems, it's just less expensive to buy them 'generic' from the grocery store)

    It's about 'bed time' for me, so I'll leave my comments to this for now _ I'll look for this post tomorrow and try to add some more


    Welcome to TFP!!!! - we'll get you all set up to enjoy a trouble free pool!!!
    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!)

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    Sounds good. I agree I need to start ASAP. We have weather going down to around 32F but hardly in the bad freeze range. I think next weekend after I fix the fence I'll pull the cover and start evaluating and fishing. I was worried that working on it now may cause me to go through a lot of chemicals during weather where I can't use the pool but I figure it's probably a lot better to know what I'm up against. Thanks for the help and I'll be back to this thread

    With regards to the cover, I cannot see any evidence of any holes in it anywhere, though I'll probably replace it anyway. When I drain all of the water off of the cover, it stays dry so it's not allowing the pool water up onto the cover.

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    It looks like a solid cover on the pool which is good. Less stuff in the pool. But as Jason said, keep the bottom drain off until you can get an idea what is on the bottom. When you start the pump up and start filtering, I would hang around the pump for awhile to keep and eye on the pump's leaf basket.

    Good luck.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
    Jacuzzi Splash Pak SP55 DE filter in parallel
    Pentair VF3050 pump

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    A quick comment on the old chems......they may do no good and, while probably not harmful, will probably only confuse the issue once you start circulating and clearing the pool.

    Cal Hypo is a good chem to shock with for this initial clean-up. Don't be surprised if you get some calcium precipitate on the pump basket lid....it'll come off later.

    The dosage amounts for your chems are important and, if any of the old chems are impotent, your calculations will be off by a good bit. I think you'd be w-a-a-y ahead of the game to use all new stuff as recommended in the stickies on the home page. For sure, Download Jason's calculator and use it to calculate all your dosages. Testing and adding the proper amount of chems will help you get the pool cleared up in no time.

    Welcome to the forum.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFP

    Good luck with your new pool and keep the pics coming!


    Joyce
    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.

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    tagprod's Avatar
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    I like to read the "nursing pools back to health" stories. Good luck.
    Brian
    20K IG Gunite w/ raised 7ft spillover spa. 1.5 HP Hayward Northstar pump 425 sq ft Hayward cartridge filter, Colorlogic lights AquaRite SWG AquaLogic PS-8 control
    1hp pump for sheer descent

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    Well in all of my searches there's basically no threads like this, so coming into this, despite all of the research I really have no idea what a pool that is neglected for years "looks like" underneath that cover. So I plan to post pics of every step - cover cleaning, chems, filtering, etc so perhaps this can be a universal guide for new people inheriting a green pool.

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Guest
    If you don't mind spending the money Proteam has a product called System Support (used in conjuction with pH down, dry acid) that can clear a really fouled pool in about 48 hours. It's basically sodium percarbonate, a powerful oxidizer. If there is stuff at the bottom of the pool it will even make it rise to the surface for easy skimming! It's not exactly cheap but it's a whole lot easier than constant dosing with chlorine several times a day. You get the filtration running, add the recommened about of it and dry acid to keep the pH in line (by itself it will cause the pH to rise) and wait 48 hours with filtration running, skimming as needed. If the pool is not completely clear by then it's pretty close and you can either use a second dose or start the chlorine shocking then. It's the only product of it's kind I know of on the market right now.

    I've actually seen this product work and it's pretty amazing!

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    Evan, I'd forgotten about the "alka-seltzer treatment" - I used it once and it does work!

    As Dave pointed out the old chems may not be any good, but I'd use them to start anyway -- if they've lost some or all of their 'zip' you'll find out pretty quickly (the numbers won't change or not change as much as they should) and at that point I'd trash them and get new chems. Because their potency is in question, I wouldn't use the changes caused by the old chems as a guide for adding new ones. (ie. 5lbs of old chem raises T/A 10 - fresh baking soda may only require 3lbs to get the 10 ppm rise) But you should be able to tell the efficacy by Jason's calculator, unless you're WAY off on the gallonage.

    I'm gonna try again to view the pics (my computer balked on that last night) - perhaps they will give one of my neurons a nudge in a helpful direction :P
    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!)

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    tagprod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piku
    Well in all of my searches there's basically no threads like this, so coming into this, despite all of the research I really have no idea what a pool that is neglected for years "looks like" underneath that cover. So I plan to post pics of every step - cover cleaning, chems, filtering, etc so perhaps this can be a universal guide for new people inheriting a green pool.
    we like pics!
    Brian
    20K IG Gunite w/ raised 7ft spillover spa. 1.5 HP Hayward Northstar pump 425 sq ft Hayward cartridge filter, Colorlogic lights AquaRite SWG AquaLogic PS-8 control
    1hp pump for sheer descent

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    I just captioned all of them to give them some context. If anyone can help me determine which suction side line is the main drain that would be fun. My best guess is the center one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Evan, I'd forgotten about the "alka-seltzer treatment" - I used it once and it does work!
    Good name for it and almost as easy as dropping a few alka-selters into a glass of water! Only drawback is the price but for many people it's worth it for the convenience factor!

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    Bump for an update

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    So my current questions are:

    1. why does the dichlor powder I used to shock tell me I shouldn't mix with trichlor? Is that a bunch of ****?
    2. Are there any safety concerns when spreading the dichlor powder? I tried to stand downwind of it since I figured it was probably unhealthy but should I wear rubber gloves when handling this stuff? I just kind of scooped out 2 cups without touching it.
    3. What is the "pool cleaner" output. I wonder where I can expect to find that outlet. I don't see it so far.

    I took a guess as to which valves did what and it appeared I was right. Left and right input valve are the skimmers center is the main drain though the main drain was bubbling a bit for whatever reason.

  17. Back To Top    #17
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You should never mix different kinds of chlorine together outside of the pool. You can use different kinds by adding them to the pool separately. Once they mix with the water you are fine. But mixing the powers together can cause serious problems. At best they will react to each other and spoil at worst they can create chlorine gas which is highly toxic.

    Dichlor isn't too bad. I like to wear rubber gloves, but they aren't strictly necessary. If you get some on your skin you probably won't even notice, just be sure not to get it in your face. You don't want any residue on your hands getting into your eyes when you rub your eyes or anything like that.

    Often there is a dedicated line for a pool cleaner. It will look much like a return but often with a special hose attachment instead of an eye ball fitting.
    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

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    Just checked this morning, pressure is at 12 psi looking like it's soon ready for a backwash. I can see the bottom of the entire shallow end!. Other than a fine layer of silt and a leaf or two here or there it's pretty much clean down there! I guess that cover isn't too bad. I'll have pics then before I start vacuuming.

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    All good things must come to an end I suppose. The plumbing is leaking from 4 places and I can't hold prime on filter mode. The drain plug in the filter is the largest leak and needs a new o-ring. The o-rings from the multiport into the filter housing need replaced and the connection between the pump and the 1.5" plumbing is leaking for whatever reason... Also I have no skimmer baskets. Anyone know what actual skimmer brand I have? It's labeled Sylvan but I'm sure it's hayward or something else like that. It has little tabs in addition to the skimmer ring it seems. I already found all the o rings and such that need so after it ships I'll be in business.

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    Another thing. Found another plug in the pool. It's either 1/4" or 1/2" and it's about 2" below the tile. If I had to guess it would be the outlet of a filling hose but I have *no* idea where the other end of this pipe would be! Any ideas where to look?

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