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Thread: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

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    Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Hello and thanks for creating this wonderful website!! It has so far been full of helpful information - and I think at this point I feel a little overwhelmed!!

    My husband and I just bought our first home - a foreclosure we got at a "steal"! We're excited and can't wait to move in (we close August 15th). We had the inspection done and everything is go for launch. The house has an above ground pool and the house has been vacant for several months (not sure exactly but I think at least 4-5). I'm not sure of the size of the pool, but I've included a couple of pictures so you may be able to get an idea of the size. The pictures were taken before the house was foreclosed on, back when the owners were living there and tried to sell the house themselves first (which is why the water is nice and blue).





    The pool looks like a swamp - you can't see down into the pool at all - its dark green and disgusting lol. It doesn't smell though, which was kinda odd. I don't know what kind of pump it has or even if it works. I'm going to the house this week to find out what type of pump it has, I don't know if I'll be able to actually test it out yet though because we don't officially live there yet and I doubt the power will be on. We have been given the "okay" from the real estate agent to go over and start treating the pool to get it cleared out prior to us moving in (we're concerned about the mosquitos). The problem is - we're totally clueless as to what to use. I've done some reading, tried to make sense of it all but I just feel dumb lol. I've never owned a pool and know nothing about them other than that I enjoy swimming in them!! 8)

    I have a few questions based on some things I've been reading here and on another forum. I'm also open to any suggestions! Is there anything I can do prior to moving in and being able to run the filter machine? What is the difference between chlorine and bleach? Are they the same thing? It kinda creeps me out to think of swimming in bleach lol. Will it not bleach our bathingsuits or burn our skin? (told you I was a noobie lol) IF my filter is kaput and I end up having to buy a new one, what is the best type (I read there are DE, sand and cartridge ones)? Will it be cheaper for me to buy liquid chlorine or liquid bleach? Should I buy a new filter (not the machine but the actual filter thingy)? Is there anything I should know about the liner? When I use my weedwhacker for the overgrowth around the pool, should I worry about possibly cutting the sides of the pool or is that not a concern? I guess what I need is for someone to dumb it all down for me because I'm so confused by all the PH and CYA and all that stuff. I'm a fast learner, but I was horrible in chemisty LOL. I'll be posting pics as we go along and showing you guys the progress we make with it. It might be one of the nastiest pools you've seen!

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice you guys can give me. The house came with a gigantic hot tub also (a really nice perk lol) but having never owned one, I have questions about that too but I'll post those over in that area of the forum!!

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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Oh forgot something...... I understand that I need to buy a tester of some sort. So a couple questions there....

    What all should the tester measure?
    Should it be digital or just test strip things?
    Any suggestions of specific brands?
    Ballpark figure of how much they cost? How much the strips are if I need those?
    Does it matter how deep of water I use to test?
    Where is the best place to buy one (pool store, walmart, ebay?)

    Thanks again!!!!

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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Good morning, and welcome to TFP! That sounds like the opening line to a radio show, doesn't it?

    Congratulations on your new home purchase. What part of the country are you in?

    There are several things you can do to get a head start on the pool before you actually move in, but first you need to know how the pool had been maintained in the past: with chlorine or with biguanide? If you cannot get that information from the previous owner or the RE agent, look in the shed and post the names of some of the chemicals in there.

    You also need to know the volume of the pool. Measure the diameter and the depth of the water, then input those numbers in the Pool Calculator at the bottom of the page under Estimating Volume.

    If the previous owner left a leaf net (looks like an angler's net attached to a long pole) use it to scoop what debris you can off the bottom - even though you can't see it. Yet.

    Even without a functioning pump and filter you can begin to clean up the pool. If the previous sanitizer was biguanide (Baquacil and etc) you would be well advised to convert to bleach right from the start.

    This article gives you an idea of what you'll be doing to get the pool cleaned up.
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 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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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Pool2008

    What all should the tester measure?
    For a vinyl lined pool it should measure pH, free chlorine (FC), combined chlorine (CC), total alkalinity (TA), and stabilizer (CYA).

    Should it be digital or just test strip things?
    Any suggestions of specific brands?
    The test strips aren't very accurate. The electronic devices are expensive. We like reagent based test kits where you add a few drops of chemicals and look for colour changes. Please take a look at this link.

    Ballpark figure of how much they cost? How much the strips are if I need those?
    With a paid membership to TFP you get a discount on the TF-100. I don't know what the other kits cost. Don't get the strips, you won't be happy.

    Does it matter how deep of water I use to test?
    Test at elbow's length down at a spot farthest away from the return. Take a pitcher or a wide-mouth bottle (plastic! never use anything glass near the pool!) and invert it above the water. Push it into the water to trap the air inside the container, then turn it upright. that releases the air bubble and collects water at that depth.

    Where is the best place to buy one (pool store, walmart, ebay?)
    A test kit? Why, right here of course
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 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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    Molson's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Be sure to check out the pool school link at the top of the page, there is a lot of good reading there.
    40 x 16 IG Vinyl. Goldline SWG
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Welcome.....

    You've gotten great advice thus far, I'd only add you will need electricity to get the water clear, to properly filter and circulate the water. You can't really add chems to a pool that size without it.

    Yes, Bleach is liquid chlorine. At proper levels, it won't hurt your skin or your suits, we don't advise swimming when you are "shocking" your pool with high levels of chlorine. Read everything you can in Pool School, there's a lot of info to absorb.

    Try and get some pool spec info and add it to your signature, if you can't identify the equipment, maybe post some close up pics, and we'll try to help? It looks like a 24-27 foot round pool, but it's hard to tell from the photos. The far shot of the equipment looks like there is other stuff there besides just a filter?

    Congrats and again, welcome!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    You've gotten great advice thus far, I'd only add you will need electricity to get the water clear, to properly filter and circulate the water. You can't really add chems to a pool that size without it.

    Why couldn't you?

    By adding chlorine now the OP can get a head start on killing algae and mosquito larvae which are more than likely breeding in the water. The chlorine is easily mixed in while she's brushing the bottom and scooping out solid debris. Her primary question, if I understand it correctly, is what she can do now to begin clearing the pool water. IMO, the first steps are to remove debris, pour in bleach and stir it up. Obviously her water won't begin to clear until the filtration system is on line but we sure can begin the sanitation process.
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 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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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    The first step is to scoop out as much debris as possible and get the pump and filter working. The second step is to start using chlorine.

    Chlorine is delayed to the second step because when you start using chlorine you want to really hit it hard, adding chlorine to shock level every half hour or hour for several hours. Adding smaller amounts of chlorine right now without proper circulation risks the chlorine puddling on the bottom and damaging the liner and it is also really just wasted effort. Whatever the chlorine kills right now will just grow back by the time the pump and filter are running. When dealing with seriously neglected pools it is much better to assemble all your tools and supplies and then hit it hard all at once with the pump running and enough time to do it right.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Generator!!!!
    Noob Here!
    24' Above Ground
    Aquatrol SWG
    1 1/2 hp pump, sand filter

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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    I don't have anything to offer, but congrats on the new house! You will get lots of good info here. Definetly read the Pool School articles. They are extremely helpful. Good luck, and you will be swimming in no time.
    Brandy in VA

    -- 16' X 48" Intex Metal Frame Pool
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by newnick
    Generator!!!!
    Theres a good idea! Any source for a generator?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Adding smaller amounts of chlorine right now without proper circulation risks the chlorine puddling on the bottom and damaging the liner and it is also really just wasted effort.
    It does? it puddles on the bottom? So whenever my pool pump is turned off, the chlorine separates out and sinks to the bottom? I had no idea! That would mean we really should run our pumps 24/7. OUCH on the electric bill.


    Whatever the chlorine kills right now will just grow back by the time the pump and filter are running. When dealing with seriously neglected pools it is much better to assemble all your tools and supplies and then hit it hard all at once with the pump running and enough time to do it right.
    I don't disagree that adding chlorine without having proper circulation is inefficient but I don't think it's an entirely wasted effort. It will begin the algae kill process, especially if they're able to add Cl and do some manual cleaning several times in the interim. They don't close until mid-August and probably can't get the power turned on until they close - unless the RE agent can intervene. Setting up a generator is a good suggestion but I bet somebody will squawk about liability issues, if not the neighbours about the noise.

    The chlorine puddling when there's no circulation is giving me fits.
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 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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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    I think he meant that when bleach is freshly added to a non circulating pool that it could have a tendancy to settle on the bottom, or against the liner somewhere until it is fully diluted.
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    I think the puddling is more of an issue when it is first added....Like if someone poured in 2 or 3 jugs and stirred it a little, it's not going to completely mix in. It can settle in one section. Happened to my SIL, they were rushing to close their pool, had the bottom drain on, while pouring in the CL, they shut off the filter, all the CL at the bottom just settled there and the liner became very hard a brittle at the bottom.

    I think on-off times for filter/pumps is fine. I don't think you should be overly concerned. I do think when closing a pool, or shocking a pool before going on vacation, the filter should run for 12-24 hours before shutting it down.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Molson
    I think he meant that when bleach is freshly added to a non circulating pool that it could have a tendancy to settle on the bottom, or against the liner somewhere until it is fully diluted.

    Yes, that makes sense. That's why I suggested they stir it up and mix it in manually with the leaf net while they're scooping debris off the bottom.
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 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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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    It might be cheaper to just drain and refill the pool. It would certainly be easier. Calculate your gallons and then find out the price to fill up. You might be surprised to find it relatively cheap (compared to adding a lot of bleach and running the pump, not even including your time). You might end up having to do a partial water change anyway (because of high CYA).

    You'll still want to get a good test kit, but you won't have to fight very hard to get your levels correct.

    Congrats on the house purchase. It looks like a great location!

    john

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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Congrats on the house. I had pretty much the same situation as you. The old owners of the house I got never winterized or anything. When the snow and ice melted I found a nasty mess. I started with the scooping off all the old **** out. Believe me its a LOT easier said than done. Its very hard to see through green water so you dont know what your scooping. Mine was so bad I even found a dead bird that was actually FLOATING on the water but you still could not see it.

    Im by no means a pool expert. I like you have no clue what Im doing. But my pool at least is the color a pool should be now. LOL I started to clean mine out in May and just in the last week or so now can finally start to see the bottom. Its still VERY cloudy and too see the bottom is a stretch but it can be done.

    Like I said I really dont have any clue what Im doing either but I can say I feel all my efforts were waisted scooping and everything before I got the pump running. Do you already have your contracts and all signed on the house? Your jsut waiting to close? if so and everything is in order I would talk to the real estate people and find out if you could go ahead and get the power turned on in your name. I moved in before I closed on my house and had just about everything already in my name at closing. Although not the power. But I would think that it shoudlnt be a problem.


    OH PS...does your pool look like this??? This was mine AFTER I had already been working on it for a couple weeks.



    I have a 24ft above ground pool with a cartridge filter. The pump is a 1 1/6 hp.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaK

    Yes, that makes sense. That's why I suggested they stir it up and mix it in manually with the leaf net while they're scooping debris off the bottom.
    IMHO, I don't think that would be effective, especially for a pool this size, which from the pics looks rather large, at least 21-24 ft....at the very least it would be extremely difficult to disperse it properly...and any bleach put in, if the additions of chlorine are not constant, along with filtration, will just result in the chlorine being consumed by the ever present algae.

    If he's not living there it really isn't practical, he might not be able to go over as often as needed, to test, shock, stir and stir and stir, test again, add again, stir stir stir...etc., I agree with Jason, better to be prepared and hit it hard, rather than a bit at a time. Now the suggestion for getting the power on in some way before closing, that sounds like an angle to look at....the noise issue of a generator, yah, I didn't consider that. I wouldn't be a happy neighbor if I had to listen to a generator all the time.....Not a way to welcome yourself to the neighborhood.....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaK

    Yes, that makes sense. That's why I suggested they stir it up and mix it in manually with the leaf net while they're scooping debris off the bottom.
    IMHO, I don't think that would be effective, especially for a pool this size, which from the pics looks rather large, at least 21-24 ft....at the very least it would be extremely difficult to disperse it properly...and any bleach put in, if the additions of chlorine are not constant, along with filtration, will just result in the chlorine being consumed by the ever present algae.

    We had an excellent thread back in July 2007 in which Michael Silvester posted his guide to clearing up a green pool. In part, he suggested adding chlorine and mixing it in, adding a flocculant, then turning off the power for 24 to 48 hours to let the dead algae settle to the bottom, after which period one would vacuum to waste. At the time several of our skilled advisors agreed that the method might work and offered some additional suggestions. I based my initial advice on this thread and others as well as on my personal experience with having had to clean up a green mess.

    In the absence of electrical power you can get a very good start on cleaning up an algae infestation. It requires extra work, extra bleach, extra commitment, yes; and without being able to vacuum and filter the water will not become pristine and sparkling. But the OP had asked what could be done now, to wit: "Is there anything I can do prior to moving in and being able to run the filter machine?".

    Dispersal of chlorine is not a difficult task, especially in what appears to be a round pool that's accessible from all sides. Yes, if it's all poured in one place it will form a column of chlorine and sink to the bottom. However, chlorine broadcast over the pool surface from a pitcher or measuring cup, or even a bucket, can be mixed in and be thusly diluted fairly easily with any number of tools: a brush on a pole moved back and forth or up and down, a skimmer net, even a canoe paddle.

    That chlorine is a consumable is made pretty clear in nearly every post on this board and we know from the OP's first post that she had done some considerable reading before posting her questions. I suggested what I did, and I stand by that, to offer some assistance for the circumstances she currently has to deal with: a swamp and no electricity. Michael Silvester recommends turning the pump off after mixing in bleach and floc. Voila! no power
    — AnnaK —

    12,000 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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    Re: Just bought a house and apparently a swamp!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaK
    the OP had asked what could be done now, to wit: "Is there anything I can do prior to moving in and being able to run the filter machine?".
    With a fair bit of work, one could indeed do what you suggest, and things would be better for a few days. In two weeks everything would be back to exactly where it is now. What would be the point of doing that?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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