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Thread: 1st time opening - help please?

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    froggybabies's Avatar
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    1st time opening - help please?

    Good evening all!

    I have read through the info on this site as well as the pool forum site, but still need some reassurance. Took the cover off our pool to reveal a murky green mess. Could not see 2 feet into the pool. No FC, pH ok, many leaves, acorns, much pollen (stupid 50 year old oak tree ) and good old southern clay in the pool. The clay must have blown/washed in under the cover (that also fell in <sigh>) from where we installed a second fence around the pool to keep the kids/pets out.

    Have been trying to get the pool in swimming condition for the past 3 weeks. Got pool-stored to the tune of $300+. Finally convinced hubby to give the BBB method a try (ok, so I had to yell at him on his cell phone to put down the $60 bucket of cal-hypo shock and just go get the bleach).

    We were having a problem with chlorine demand (~55 lbs of cal-hypo in 3 days), which seems to be better since starting with the bleach yesterday. Our FC only dropped to 6ppm last night vs <1 ppm previously. I think we have a handle on that. Keeping the FC at 20 ppm with a CYA of 50 for at least another day or two to make sure the algae is absolutely gone. We are using a skimmer sock and have been augmenting the sand filter with DE; I have been brushing and vacuuming at least once a day and have kept the filter running 24/7 for the past 2 1/2 weeks (thank God for equal payment plans with the power company!).

    Unfortunately, the pool is still so cloudy. I can barely see the vacuum in the bottom of the shallow end (<4 ft). The water is a milky greenish-blue color (I'd have to say still more green than blue). I'm getting desperate...the kids are out of school in 2 days and I absolutely have to get this pool in shape! Am I missing anything? Or should I pour some POPP over myself and chill?

    Thanks for any help!
    Froggybabies
    24000 gal inground vinyl
    Sand filter

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    Re: 1st time opening - help please?

    Froggy,

    Love your username. Yours is a great post and indicative of the dilemma that frustrates newbies.

    Now, that said, your treatments to your pool are not like a newbie.....you're right on track!!! You are in the final stages of getting that pool in great shape. Whether or not it'll get there in 48 more hours......uhmmm, probably, just dont quit what your doing.

    You have killed about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 algae cells and they are still clouding your water. Your plan now should be to filter out those dead cells and keep your Chlorine up at shock levels so no more of them can grow.

    The skimmer socks and DE are for the final, sparkling touch to your water....assign them little of your time for now....Here's what counts:

    1. Keep that pump running 24/7 and your filter cleaned....tell us what kind you have if you don't know how to clean it ( I doubt that)

    2. Keep you Cl up in the 20ppm range.....all the time.

    3. A little POP goes a long way right now....you're on the right course....don't stray from it

    4. Keep vacuuming the dirt and acorns, etc. out of the pool. The Cl will do nothing for them but they are harmful to the Cl.

    5. Post back here often...lots of good help available.

    6. (self-serving) it sounds like you may have a pretty good test kit but I can't tell.....if you do post numbers for:
    Cl
    pH
    TA
    CH
    CYA
    If you do not have one, I hope you'll buy mine

    7. Keep the faith...it took a while for your pool to get funky....it'll take a while for it to get pristine....but it will!!
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The key thing is to bring the CL level back up to shock level as frequently as possible, every hour if you can manage it. The more frequently you test and add CL the quicker it will all be over. Constant brushing is also called for if the algae is building up on the walls/bottom. Algae on surfaces can resist CL far better than algae free floating in the water.

    When you finally beat the algae the CL level will hold overnight and the water will probably turn milky white. You will want to keep the CL at shock levels for another few days after that just to be sure. Once you have beat the algae it can still take several days for the water to clear, depending on the size of your pump and filter. Run the pump 24/7 until the water clears up completely, both to keep the CL will mixed and to filter out as much as possilble. Keep an eye on the filter presure and backwash as needed.

    Best of luck
    Jason
    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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    froggybabies's Avatar
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    Whew! It's cathartic, in a way, to have gotten all of that out and get some feedback that I am on the right track. My family thinks I'm a little crazy to turn to bleach; my mil is worried that the pool may "bleach" clothes/bathing suits or mess up our hair. I keep trying to explain that chlorine is chlorine, doesn't matter if its granular pool store stuff or Clorox. One advantage I do have is that I have a biology degree and the requisite chemistry classes help my understanding of how this all works; but I am by no means an expert and have ALOT to learn.

    I have the wimpy 6 way test kit from WalMart that I have been using with the shot glass method and have also been using <GULP> strips for quick snapshots of the FC/TC levels. I do intend to order a good test kit in the very near future and will probably go with yours, Dave. I haven't been keeping track of my numbers, but I have been comparing them to the suggested levels from this site (I have about 6 different post-it notes with the best guess CYA chart and other notes).

    The filter is a sand filter, not sure of the size and I'm too lazy to walk up to the pool right now to check it out, but will post back with that information later. The filter usually runs at 15 psi and I backwash anytime it gets above 20 psi. That backwash water is definitely funky! We just moved into this house in October and I don't know what kind of shape the sand in the filter is in. One thing that the pool store lady had me get is a filter stripping liquid. I have been afraid to use it because the label says to pour it directly into the skimmer and run the filter until the liquid is in, but not to let the liquid circulate back to the pool. I have no idea how long it would take for it to get into the filter, but not back out?!? Anyhow, she said that it would help kill the algae that may be living in the sand and help to compact the sand so it would filter better. I would think that the 20 ppm of chlorine running through the sand would kill anything trying to take up residence there and the DE serves to "compact" the sand. I haven't opened that bottle yet, and quite frankly, it scares me. I'm afraid it may do more harm than good.

    Anyhow, I am glad to have found this site (as well as pool forum - but I couldn't join to post - POOH!) and to have the collective expertise of all you fine ladies and gentlemen to help me through this! Better get to bed so I can tackle the pool again in the morning!

    Thanks again!
    Froggybabies
    24000 gal inground vinyl
    Sand filter

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    Quote Originally Posted by froggybabies
    Whew! It's cathartic, in a way, to have gotten all of that out and get some feedback that I am on the right track. My family thinks I'm a little crazy to turn to bleach; my mil is worried that the pool may "bleach" clothes/bathing suits or mess up our hair. I keep trying to explain that chlorine is chlorine, doesn't matter if its granular pool store stuff or Clorox. One advantage I do have is that I have a biology degree and the requisite chemistry classes help my understanding of how this all works; but I am by no means an expert and have ALOT to learn.

    I have the wimpy 6 way test kit from WalMart that I have been using with the shot glass method and have also been using <GULP> strips for quick snapshots of the FC/TC levels. I do intend to order a good test kit in the very near future and will probably go with yours, Dave. I haven't been keeping track of my numbers, but I have been comparing them to the suggested levels from this site (I have about 6 different post-it notes with the best guess CYA chart and other notes).

    The filter is a sand filter, not sure of the size and I'm too lazy to walk up to the pool right now to check it out, but will post back with that information later. The filter usually runs at 15 psi and I backwash anytime it gets above 20 psi. That backwash water is definitely funky! We just moved into this house in October and I don't know what kind of shape the sand in the filter is in. One thing that the pool store lady had me get is a filter stripping liquid. I have been afraid to use it because the label says to pour it directly into the skimmer and run the filter until the liquid is in, but not to let the liquid circulate back to the pool. I have no idea how long it would take for it to get into the filter, but not back out?!? Anyhow, she said that it would help kill the algae that may be living in the sand and help to compact the sand so it would filter better. I would think that the 20 ppm of chlorine running through the sand would kill anything trying to take up residence there and the DE serves to "compact" the sand. I haven't opened that bottle yet, and quite frankly, it scares me. I'm afraid it may do more harm then good.

    Anyhow, I am glad to have found this site (as well as pool forum - but I couldn't join to post - POOH!) and to have the collective expertise of all you fine ladies and gentlemen to help me through this! Better get to bed so I can't tackle the pool again in the morning!

    Thanks again!
    Froggy,

    You are one smart newbie. Your backwash method is dead on perfect. Your skepticism of the pool store advice is dead on perfect as well. Many of us run the same sand for years and years with no additives.........and the Cl in the filter kills the algae just like you said. (If you get courageous, you might take the top of the filter off and check how much sand is in there. The "freeboard" (amount of filter without sand in it) should be roughly a third of the total filter height. Your filter manufacturer may specify a more accurate "freeboard".)

    Once again, don't sweat the DE and the filter socks 'til you get your pool cleared.....consider them "fine tuning". Keep us posted...there's success in your future!!
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Well, to offer more reassurance, you are on the right track. Check out my post here Algae Diary for details of my algae mess this spring. No substitute for patience and perserverance. Check the chlorine level as often as you can and brush at least daily.
    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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    froggybabies's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reassurance! It's hard to remain confident in what you are doing when most people think you're nuts. I've just tested the water this morning and the hubby is vacuuming as I type. Here are our numbers:

    Cl 15
    pH 7
    TA 190
    CH 500
    CYA 95

    I had tri-chlor pucks in a floater in the pool (our CYA was nil last week), but I am getting them out ASAP. The CYA level should come down somewhat as we are vacuuming to waste and backwashing often, therefore having to refill what is lost. I have already added more bleach to bump the FC back to 20 and will retest in awhile to verify that its back where it should be. How bad is that CH level? The pool store print out (ALEX) suggested raising it as well; but, vinyl pools don't need calcium, right?
    As for being a "smart newbie" , it is only that I take good notes! I can not take credit for figuring this out on my own...you guys and your posts to others in similar situations have brought me this far and I once again thank you.
    Froggybabies
    24000 gal inground vinyl
    Sand filter

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Your CH is already too high, but it will come down as water is replaced from backwashing and vacuuming. Don't trust your CYA reading if you have dirty water. The turbidity in the water messes up the test, and I wouldn't even test for it until the water is clear.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by froggybabies
    Thanks for the reassurance! It's hard to remain confident in what you are doing when most people think you're nuts. I've just tested the water this morning and the hubby is vacuuming as I type. Here are our numbers:

    Cl 15
    pH 7
    TA 190
    CH 500
    CYA 95

    I had tri-chlor pucks in a floater in the pool (our CYA was nil last week), but I am getting them out ASAP. The CYA level should come down somewhat as we are vacuuming to waste and backwashing often, therefore having to refill what is lost. I have already added more bleach to bump the FC back to 20 and will retest in awhile to verify that its back where it should be. How bad is that CH level? The pool store print out (ALEX) suggested raising it as well; but, vinyl pools don't need calcium, right?
    As for being a "smart newbie" , it is only that I take good notes! I can not take credit for figuring this out on my own...you guys and your posts to others in similar situations have brought me this far and I once again thank you.
    Yeah, John's right about the CYA.........you won't get from nil to 95 in one week with pucks....one of those tests was wrong

    And for sure don't add anymore calcium.....assuming that test is correct also
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    froggybabies's Avatar
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    Just wanted to update:

    I CAN SEE THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL!!!!

    We actually turned the pump off yesterday after showing stable FC readings of 20 ppm. Most of the gunk suspended in the water settled to the bottom and I just vacuumed to waste...the water is BLUE! I am currently refilling the pool and will add more bleach to get us back to 20 ppm of FC shortly (it dropped to 10 ppm overnight). The difference is amazing; you can even see the bottom of the deep end. Although I must admit, turning the pump off overnight did drive me to near hyperventilation, but luckily it worked out well.

    Now, the question is: is there something wrong with our pump? Or is this typical? Or is it all just coincidental? I may be heading up to the pool to open up the pump to see what is going on with it (when my hubby isn't looking, of course ...he still gets nervous when he sees me with tools - good ole southern boy syndrome ). Oh, once again, it's a sand filter: a SuperFlow PF-50, 52 gallons/minute, so turnover is approximately 8 hours for our pool.

    Thanks for all your reassurance and help thus far!
    Froggybabies
    24000 gal inground vinyl
    Sand filter

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    Hey froggy is there any chance you can get a message to/from the previous owner on how old the sand in it is?

    When I bought our house last year, we heard the woman say that it was a fairly "new" filter and she had not replaced the sand, but upon further inspection ( ie, finding the original manual for the filter).. well, let's just say that "new" is a relative term... ha ha
    so anyway, we ended up replacing the sand with zeobrite... which is awesome btw
    but if you do go that route, expect it to cloudy the water up for a little bit

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    froggybabies's Avatar
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    Hi Raven!

    Aaahhh, Canada, my homeland! I miss the beauty and cleanliness, but I must say the weather here in South Carolina is much more conducive to swimming.

    I am fairly positive that the sand is 10 years old. The original owners of the house put in the pool in 1997; the people that owned the house before us only lived here two years and let's just say I can't imagine that they would have replaced the sand. That said, I believe that the thinking here is that sand rarely, if ever has to be replaced? Hopefully someone will correct me if I am wrong on that. I have yet to get brave enough to open up the filter to check out the sand. Right now it seems to be doing better, the pool is clear, but not sparkling. We will look into the zeobrite replacement for next season, though; thanks for the info!
    Froggybabies
    24000 gal inground vinyl
    Sand filter

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    The sand in my filter was 10 years old last summer. I was having problems getting the water clear also. When I looked into the filter I noticed that it was low on sand. I don't know what caused this as I have never seen sand in my pool, maybe there were issues earlier before I bought the home.

    I went ahead and replaced the sand with Zeobright (or whatever that Zeo product is called Zeobest?) and it made a HUGE improvement. Best money I spent on my pool.

    dave
    15,500 gal, inground gunite pool with 7 ft spa, 2 speed pump 2hp/.33hp, 3/4 hp booster pump, Intermatic P1353 timer, AutoPilot SC-48, Sand filter with ZeoBest, Heater, that I never use . . .

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Sand does age, the sharp edges get worn down and the grains get rounder over time. As that happens the smallest particles that the sand can trap get larger. This is not that large of an effect, even a very old batch of sand is acceptable to many people. You can compensate for this by adding a small amount of DE to the sand filter through the skimmer. The DE does have to be added every time you backwash, but that is a generally a minor expense. DE will usually bring your old sand filter back to better than new performance.

    It is also possible for the sand to get crusted and clump up over time. If you have calcium scaling or metal stains they can happen on the sand as well, reducing it's effectiveness. Every year or two you might want to open the filter up and break up any clumps and wash out anything that backwashing didn't take care of. This should be done gently to avoid damaging the laterals.
    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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