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Thread: Planning a Vacation

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Planning a Vacation

    Okay, would like some advice. This is our 6th season with our AG pool. Up till this year I have used a "pool frog" system which is Silver ions with a "bac-pac" that is tri-chlor. After discovering these online forums I have abandoned the problematic pool frog in favor of BBB, which I have yet to master so I hope you all don't mind the constant barrage....

    We run our 2 speed pump on low 24/7. We have a heater, a cartridge filter. With the pool frog, I could go on vacation and not worry about the chlorine running out and coming home to green water. I do not have any other "auto" chlorinator.

    Are there any suggestions for an exentended vacation (10 days gone)? I turn off the heater, but leave the pump running. I would hate to ask a friend/neighbor to check the numbers and add bleach. Do I just not worry about it and fix any developing problem when I return?

    What are your thoughts?
    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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    If you're comfortable leaving your pump on while you're away, and your CYA is not too high (60+), you could put a few pucks in the skimmer while you're gone. Experiment while you're still there and see how many you need to maintain adequate Cl levels.

    Secondly, you could "dose up" your Cl level to shock value before leaving and then let it come down on it's own while you're away.... Again, the effectiveness of doing that for 10 days depends on your CYA level.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Vacation Care

    Vacation Rule #1. Solar Cover must be off or nothing will prevent problems.
    That out of the way, Shock the pool the day you leave, new pac in Frog and low speed pump I think you will be fine.

    Thanks.
    Matthew Austin
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    The pool frog is long gone....or of course that I would do.

    Why remove solar cover? Sorry, I'm still a little clueless. We have always left it on.

    CYA is 70+
    shock to what, like 30? LOL
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    What about adding an algeacide before I go as a sort of preventive measure? Just a thought, feel free to shoot it down if its worthless. I would like to go and not be a bother to anyone else. If I absolutely must I could ask my dad to come over and pour in a jug of bleach....
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    If you're comfortable leaving your pump on while you're away, and your CYA is not too high (60+), you could put a few pucks in the skimmer while you're gone. Experiment while you're still there and see how many you need to maintain adequate Cl levels.

    Secondly, you could "dose up" your Cl level to shock value before leaving and then let it come down on it's own while you're away.... Again, the effectiveness of doing that for 10 days depends on your CYA level.
    I was told when we got the pool 6 years ago because of our heater not to put anything in the skimmer.....?
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    It is generally safe to put slow disolving things in the skimmer if and only if the pump is on 24/7. If the pump goes off the chemical levels will build up in the skimmer, possibly causing problems in and near the skimmer and then causing a serious shock to the system when the pump first goes on. There are some special sticks that are supposed to minimize this but there is still some risk.

    There are some special extra large extra slow disolving tablets that can be left in the skimmer if you are going to run the pump 24/7. You will get some extra CYA and they will lower the PH, but both can be compensated for if you don't go away very often.

    Adding algeacide probably won't help too much. You will only need the algeacide after several days when the FC level drops and by that time the algeacide will have partially or completely broken down, especially if you raised the FC level dramatically before leaving.

    It isn't very difficult to train someone to add a little bleach. If you can make a reasonable guess about chlorine usage you don't even need to teach them how to do the testing. I prefer this approach as a storm can block the skimmer(s) [we don't have a main drain] and your helper can also keep an eye out for that.
    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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    Solar Cover

    Solar Covers trap the ingredients that make algae grow. A solar covered pool with no FC will grow algae way faster than a pool with no solar cover that can gas off some of the algae's key ingredients for growth.
    Matthew Austin
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    During the hot summer days, a solar cover would trap food and possibly help breed algae, however, if superchlorinating to 15ppm the morning you leave it will also help retain the chlorine in your pool and keep chlorine levels up for the extended away time - likely you'd be returning to find 4-6 ppm of free chlorine in your pool.
    Once you return, immediately uncover the pool to let it offgas any buildup under the cover, and shock to 10ppm, and if the bottom is dirty, run your vac - this has always worked for me and I'm always going on vacation during the hottest time of the year.
    Reason I don't leave mine uncovered is that in 10 days of full sunshine and summer heat, I'd be shy a lot of water and likely sucking air instead of water, the solar cover helps stop evaporation - I don't have the luxury of putting a hose into my pool (even on trickle) since I am on a well, nor do I have an automatic filler.

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    I've been thinking about just this issue and have bought some trichlor tabs in preparation. Not having used tablets before, I'm not quite sure how to deal with them. . . the package says that one tablet will maintain chlorine levels for a week in a 10,000 gallon pool. Since they are slow-dissolving, should I establish a slightly high chlorine residual when I leave? Just how slowly do they dissolve?

    Our trip's not right away, so maybe I should try out the tablets beforehand, while I'm at home to monitor. . . thoughts?

    Thx,
    Jules
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    How quickly they disolve depends on water temperature and the flow rate around the puck. Put one in the skimmer with the pump running 24/7 and water temps in the 90s and it might only last three days. In a floater with water in the 60s it could last two weeks or more. Some of the floaters are specifically designed to last longer than others and I have seen special monster tablets for longer term use in the skimmer.
    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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    Sounds like testing the tablet method while I'm at home to monitor would be a good idea. I would prefer to use the skimmer so I don't have to buy a dispenser.

    Thx,
    Jules
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

  13. Back To Top    #13
    I don't like putting chemicals in the skimmer, but for something like a vacation, I make the exception because it is only temporary.
    I would shock to 20 ppmthe day you leave, as well as add 2 pucks minimum, plus one more for every week you stay away over the first week. Put your pump on a timer and run it 8 hrs a day.

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    I have an opaque "safety" cover that is on all of the time except, of course, when using the pool. Algae never develops because chlorine levels are maintained. So while it is true that with a cover, especially a solar cover, the water will be warmer and will encourage algae growth, proper maintenance of chlorine levels will prevent that. The cover will keep more chlorine in the pool, assuming it filters some of the UV rays from the sun.

    So you have to ask yourself the question of whether you believe your neighbor will truly test chlorine levels and add more as needed. As for Trichlor tabs/pucks, I haven't found them to last much more than a week, even if I add more of them.

    One more item that hasn't been mentioned that is likely to prevent algae in case your neighbor doesn't do his job -- add a full initial dose of PolyQuat 60 algaecide. This will last longer and will prevent algae even when chlorine is zero. Unfortunately, high chlorine levels breakdown some of the algaecide though it is still effective, so if you shock, do that first and when the chlorine has dropped a bit, add the PolyQuat 60 algaecide all around your pool (it is very viscous so doesn't disperse quickly) and keep your pump running at least an hour after adding it to mix it. Do this right before you leave.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Ooh, there's a suggestion I was looking for... I run my pump 24/7, does that make the polyquat 60 less effective? What if the cl level doesn't drop and I gotta go? faggeddaboutit?

    My CYA is 80+ and I don't want to use pucks...if I did resort to a puck in the skimmer should I bypass the heater or just shut it off? I was going to shut if off before I go anyhow...

    worse comes to worse I come home to some green water.
    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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    You can run your pump for as long as you want and this won't cause any problem with the algaecide (PolyQuat 60). If the chlorine doesn't drop and you've got to go, add the algaecide anyway. It will just end up lowering the chlorine somewhat itself, but will still be effective as an algaecide (the polymer will just be broken up into smaller pieces).

    Yikes! With a CYA of 80+ you would need to maintain a Free Chlorine level of at least 6 ppm to ensure algae was kept away (if you didn't use an algaecide). If you use pucks in the skimmer, then running the pump the whole time is safer since it won't build up acidity in the skimmer (I've rusted a thermometer that was just outside the skimmer that way -- having pucks in the skimmer and not running the pump). The pucks will only last a couple of days, maybe 3, if you run the pump 24 hours a day. A floating feeder for the pucks might be better as that will be more slowly releasing -- just keep the feeder away from metal (handrails, light rings, etc.) -- I just push mine more toward the center of the pool.

    So here's what I would do:

    1) Shock with chlorine to 20 ppm (due to your 80 ppm CYA) at least a day before you leave. Keep your pool uncovered in the daytime during the shocking. Odds are that the chlorine level will drop from the sunlight and that's fine. If you keep your cover off at night as well, then the pool water temperature should drop and that's good.

    2) Just before you leave, make sure the chlorine is at least at 6 ppm (add more if it went lower) and add PolyQuat 60 algaecide all around the pool. You can add the algaecide even if the chlorine level didn't come down from shock level.

    3) Put several Trichlor pucks (the 2 plus 1 per week sounds good) in a floating feeder that you put towards the middle of the pool.

    4) Put the solar cover on (turn off any solar heater or regular heater, if any).

    5) Run the pump 24/7. This is actually the least important, but it does help ensure that circulation always occurs to prevent any localized algae consumption of chlorine and subsequent outbreak. You could just run the pump 8 hours a day and do fine.

    6) You can still have your neighbor check on chlorine levels and add chlorine (chlorinating liquid or bleach) if it gets below 6 ppm FC.

    Let us know how it turns out when you get back. Worst case, you can clear your pool of any algae, but I think your pool will do fine with the above.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    2) Just before you leave, make sure the chlorine is at least at 6 ppm (add more if it went lower) and add PolyQuat 60 algaecide all around the pool. You can add the algaecide even if the chlorine level didn't come down from shock level.

    Than you for the extensive instructions, Richard.

    Question on the polyquat: how much?

    I have to leave my pool unattended for all of September I have an autochlorinator (for 3" pucks) and a pump timer. My plan was to superchlorinate the day before I have to leave -- CYA is 40, I plan to chlorinate 10 15 ppm. I would fill the chlorinator with pucks, it holds 7, and set it to 1/2, then let the pump run 8 hours at night. It's hard wired. If we have an extended power outage those 8 hours might not be at night because it'll lose its clock setting but it'll run again when the power comes back on. I would also put the solar cover on.

    I had been thinking of adding polyquat and from this thread it sounds like I should, but how much for a 12,000 gal pool?

    Anna
    AnnaK

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    See my update, I didn't add the polyquat, my pool was fine, I had someone add chlorine for me 2 times and I came home to clear water with chlorine at 4ppm and I left the solar cover on, with recycled bleach jugs of water to keep it in place in case of high winds. Is there anyone who can add chlorine for you?
    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

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    We are leaving for vaction in a couple of days. I'm going to shock the pool before we go and then just let the swg do it's job while we are gone.
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

  20. Back To Top    #20
    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Is there anyone who can add chlorine for you?
    No


    I like your method of holding down the solar cover!
    AnnaK

    12,500 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

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