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Thread: New to Pools, what to do first?

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    New to Pools, what to do first?

    Hello my name is James and I live near New Orleans. To give you some background before I ask my question, I purchased a home in March and it happened to have a pool (old pool, gunite surface is pretty bad off and looks to be getting worse, will probably replaster this winter if I really have to). I have spent the last 6 months remodeling the house and have been paying a pool guy to keep my pool up mostly because I didn't really have the time to spend researching how to do it. I suspected that something was wrong with the water chemistry because I have these little black spots all over the bottom of the pool at the deep end and around the edges of the steps. After looking closer it has a slimy surface so I suspect it is black algae. I didn't know what to do until I found this site, which gave me the courage to fire my expensive pool guy who I think wasn't doing much of anything but emptying the skimmers and making sure the salt level was around 3000. Anyway I purchased the TF100 test kit and tested my pool for the first time a few days ago. Results below:

    15k gallon, gunite pool with SWG and cartridge filter (don’t know that much about the filter yet but will shortly)
    FC 3
    CC .5
    pH 8
    T/A ~160
    CH ~160
    CYA less than 20 (filled the tube and could still faintly see the black dot, did it twice to make sure I didn't mess up)
    Salt ~3000

    So today I bought some CYA and using the pool calculator put in about 33 oz to start. Will retest later in the week so I can accurately move it again. So now that you have some knowledge of my pool I have 2 questions:

    1) The levels above are all over the place, and instead of putting in a lot of different chemicals all at once my plan was to get one item in the correct range then adjust the next until all of them are in the correct range. I started with the CYA level so my chlorine has a fighting chance to kill the algae. Is one item at a time a smart way of doing it and if so is the CYA good to start with or in which order should I plan my attack?

    2) In the TF100 test kit to measure CH it has a note that if you pool contains copper to add two drops of R-0012 prior to adding the R-0011L, but the test kit doesn't have anything to test copper with so how do I know if my pool contains copper? (I am assuming that means trace copper levels in the water)

    Thanks in advance for any advice you may give me and also thanks to all the admins on the site that help keep it going. Without this site I would have a very hard time and spend a lot more money learning and keeping my pool together.

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: New to Pools, what to do first?

    Welcome to the forum

    Is one item at a time a smart way of doing it and if so is the CYA good to start with or in which order should I plan my attack?
    I really like that approach. Too often, newbies ask 15 questions and we responders dole out the 15 answers leaving the newbie dazed and confused. Messy pools don't get that way overnite and you can't expect to have them all fixed up in 24 hours. Your methodical approach and doing the CYA first is fine.

    Next, (like right away) I'd get the pH down to around 7.2-7.4. With an SWG, you can expect your pH to constantly rise so starting it down a little low will be helpful. It's truly a very quick fix with the addition of a little muriatic acid. (your T/A will come down with it)

    Next, assume your pool does not have any copper. It's not naturally occurring and, unless you are aware the service was using a copper-based product, they most likely were not.

    At some point, but longer term, I would suggest bringing your CH up to 200-250 or so. No burning emergency on that and I think your idea of one parameter at a time is great.

    Tell us how your water looks. If it's crystal clear, that's good but if it's not, we need to know that to help you get it back to sparkling.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Re: New to Pools, what to do first?

    Hi and Welcome!

    One thing you need to know with Black Algae, you are going to need a good stainless steel brush and start brushing the algae spots. BA has a tough outer layer that is resistant to chlorine. You must brush it so that the chlorine can reach the inside of the cell and kill it. Frequent brushing and higher FC levels are the key to killing it....you want to use bleach or liquid chlorine if you decide to shock your pool, don't use your SWG to "superchlorinate" as it can shorten the life of the SWG.

    You are on the right path and already in a better place than most pool newbs. You've got the TF-100 which puts you a step ahead!

    Good luck, let us know if you have any other questions!
    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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    Re: New to Pools, what to do first?

    Thanks for the advice.

    Tell us how your water looks. If it's crystal clear, that's good but if it's not, we need to know that to help you get it back to sparkling.
    My water actually looks great! Sparkly and clear. Pool is a little dirty with leaves and debris due to the hurricanes that are keeping the winds up but I have that under control now. I must have emptied my polaris bag 30 times or so in the past few days. (Along with sweeping and skimming with the net) but I know those aren't normal my sweat work should decrease as far as cleaning is concerned.

    Other than that, I will run to Home Depot and get some muratic acid and lower my pH, Thanks.
    After that I will retest and work on my T/A with pH drops and areation, (been reading about that alot) which will give me an excuse to build something.

    Anyway thanks again for the advice.

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