About to be a first time pool owner, feeling a little overwhelmed.

Hi All,

I am moving into a home with a pool in SWFL on December 1st and i'm really excited to have my first pool. It is IG, plaster, no idea of the size in gallons, it has a heater, don't know anything about the pump or filter. The pool has always been professionally maintained and the owners seem to be pretty hands off when it came to maintenance/knowledge of their pool. I have attached a couple photos i have of the pool and equipment. I purchased the TF-100 so i can get accurate readings when i arrive. It feels a little overwhelming as i have so many other things to deal with in the next 3 weeks and i don't really know what i am walking into. Any advice on anything else i might need on day one or should i just get there and start testing and go from there?
 

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CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
542
Massachusetts
With your TF-100, a tape measure (to estimate pool volume), and some liquid chlorine, you will have what you need to get started. It would not be a bad idea to have some acid available, but pH is secondary to chlorine.

If you post more pictures of your equipment, others can help identify what you have. Other angles of the pad, and close-ups of any labels.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hi, and welcome to TFP. Congrats on the new house and pool. Sounds very exciting.

Do you know if the pool is open or closed for winter? And do pools in your area generally close for winter? Those are some questions to be answered first.

Depending on how busy you think you'll be, you might ask the previous owners for the name of the maintenance company and hire them for a month or two until you get settled. Pool care is pretty simple, using the methods we teach here, especially in the winter, so you can take it on if you like, and we'll help you all you need. But if the pool is closed, or needs to be closed soon, then that's a different matter.

The maintenance company should also be able to tell you the volume number they've been using for their chemical addition calculations. Or as CrystalRiver mentioned, we can help you calculate the volume after you move in.

In the meantime, you can start reading our Pool School articles to get familiar with pool care. I prefer the eBook, which is a quick read and like a book goes from article to article in an order that makes sense. See the bottom of this page for the eBook, or you can wonder around in the articles listed on this same page:


Also, start filling in your signature so as you ask questions all your pool spec's will be available. Once you move in, you can fill in more of the gaps. Eventually getting to something close to my signature.

Just go once step at a time, we got you...
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
177
Tampa, FL
Do you have a good relationship with the sellers and did they put the pool in? If so, maybe they can provide a copy of the contract that shows details or if you can figure out your county's permit system, you could try to look up the permit and see if the paperwork is any help. I would do what Dirk says and at least hire a company for a couple months so you can focus on other things!
 
Thanks for the replies and the well wishes. I attached some more photos from the inspection. The pool is in Fort Myers, FL with a pool heater so i just assumed they kept it open all year but i guess that might not be the case. I will ask the realtor. We don't have any relationship with the seller, just the realtor. Reading a local south Florida forum and it seems some keep them open and some not. It sounds like it can be expensive to keep the pool at 80 in January. We'll see, we will be working from home and may want to enjoy the pool this winter. I do know what pool company they used so I could go that route. I've ready most of pool school, i'll check out the ebook. One of the photos is of the supply closet, I included it because of the corrosion on the door. Should you store pool chemicals in such an enclosed space? I thought you needed more ventilation. I don't know the age of the pool but i believe it is old and had some extensive work done on it 5-10 years ago. I'll try to get paperwork.
Thanks again for your help.
 

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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
16,097
Evans, Georgia
Its a lovely looking pool and your pics tell a great story. What the chemical history is is anyone's guess considering a company has been handling it. Good choice having the TF-100 at the ready! :goodjob:

Any chance you can grab a good amount (say a good pint) of water and test before your closing date?

Maddie :flower:
 

DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
354
Chandler, AZ
Note: Just because you may opt to NOT heat the pool doesn't mean you would need to close the pool. I keep mine open all year round but don't have a heater.
The maintenance company should also be able to tell you the volume number they've been using for their chemical addition calculations.
Hopefully. Some companies just dump and run.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,980
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
From looking at your pictures your equipment is:

  • 100-150 sq ft cartridge filter (probably Pentair)
  • Heat pump heater
  • 2.2 HP single speed Sta-Rite (Pentair) pump
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks for the replies and the well wishes. I attached some more photos from the inspection. The pool is in Fort Myers, FL with a pool heater so i just assumed they kept it open all year but i guess that might not be the case. I will ask the realtor. We don't have any relationship with the seller, just the realtor. Reading a local south Florida forum and it seems some keep them open and some not. It sounds like it can be expensive to keep the pool at 80 in January. We'll see, we will be working from home and may want to enjoy the pool this winter. I do know what pool company they used so I could go that route. I've ready most of pool school, i'll check out the ebook. One of the photos is of the supply closet, I included it because of the corrosion on the door. Should you store pool chemicals in such an enclosed space? I thought you needed more ventilation. I don't know the age of the pool but i believe it is old and had some extensive work done on it 5-10 years ago. I'll try to get paperwork.
Thanks again for your help.
My bad, I think I was looking at CrystalRiver's MA location instead of your FL location. I don't imagine your pool will be closed (like drained and covered up all winter), though it might go unused for a spell. My pool is open all year, but I can only swim in it about six months. Which means you'll need to maintain its chemicals year-round. So use the pool guy for a month until you can get settled.

Pool School online and in eBook form are the same content, I just recommended the eBook as I found it easier to read, front to back, then hopping around online. Either way is fine.

Chlorine should be kept out of the sun, in a cool place if you have one. Pool acid should not be kept in any kind of enclosure that is made of metal, or has a metal door. It will corrode the metal right quick. And yes, it needs very good ventilation. And most importantly, chlorine and pool acid should NOT be stored in the same space. Together they can from a very toxic gas. They've also got some sort of sprayer in that room, which could be anything. Best to sort that out when you first move in.

Good start on the siggie. Allen gave you a few more details to include...
 

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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Oops, did I mention? It's a beautiful pool/spa/deck/yard! And the garden is amazing. So tropical looking. Love it!!
 
Thanks so much we are really excited for it. We have been living in a small city apartment for 15 years so it will be a big change. It looks like the chlorine has done a number on that door. There is a screened in shed type structure in the back corner of the property that is very shaded. I was thinking about keeping the chemicals in there. I'm afraid it is not sheltered well enough but it is probably fine. Or i could replace the metal door with a wood one.
 

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Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,291
West Palm Beach/Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Welcome!!! Always nice to have another Florida member.

You will not be closing your pool. However, not closing does not mean heating. If you want to heat your pool for winter swimming, do so. If not, no worries. However, you will maintain your pool all year round. In the winter this will be simpler because of less light and colder water. In the summer it will take more attention (a little easier for you since it is screened in).

Get some plastic boxes for pool chemical storage. As mentioned earlier separate boxes for acid and chlorine, and for extra safety keep those boxes away from each other. I would not keep pool chemicals in that room.

You probably do not want to change that door, it is most likely a hurricane rated door (depends how old the house is), unless you change it for another impact rated door.

I buy chlorine when I need it from Leslies (about the only thing I do there). I use refillable 2.5 gallon carboys. You might have a pinch a penny closer, same deal. It is usually the strongest, cheapest, and freshest chlorine available. When you get tired of hauling chlorine you will get a SWG (no rush).
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,609
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Welcome to TFP and pool ownership.
With regard to chemicals, it is best you take an inventory of what you have and ask the pool company to help if it is not labelled or unsure of its contents. Write down the chemical and the strength or main ingredient if possible. You also may have chlorine pucks (3" discs). It is best to separate acid from chlorine so think about that. That storage room may be better suited to keep pool toys rather than chemicals.
See this thread where there was a good discussion on storage options
 
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gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
+1 with Dirk. I prefer the ebook as well, because it's in an online book format; and this may be a generational thing, but for me it's much easier to follow a book format for learning concepts than to click around to different topics using tabs or table of contents. For some reason, I missed a lot of the information in pool school the first time when I read the regular website version of pool school versus reading the entire e-book; well--at least the topics that are relevant for my pool, and the ebook is a quick read as well. I'm a slow reader, and it took me about an hour.
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,319
Corona de Tucson, AZ
So I am going to go off the rails a bit here. The pool itself and the equipment from the outside all look like they are in good shape. I do advise taking ownership and control over the pool sooner than later, but since everything looks good for now, you might want to have the existing pool service go until spring. Get settled in your new house and take the time to learn TFP. I couldn't imagine going through a move and learning a new skill like maintaining the pool at the same time. I might hear "blasphemy" from the crowds here, but in the meantime you can figure out what the service has been doing and make notes to correct (or change) the procedures going forward. If they are doing it wrong you'll likely have a (partial) water change to do at that time anyway...

Just an idea. Ask your agent for all the records of the pool build if they are available. If it's from three owners ago they might not be. The existing pool service might have that info, and continuing them for awhile might make them a little more amiable to giving them to you as it's not really suspicious to ask for them when you move in.

But it's not hard, especially if follow TFP. If you start having issues like algae it gets a lot harder. That won't happen if you follow TFP and monitor/test often enough. Enjoy. It's not really that difficult. It is a little expensive, I am not going to lie, but it's not difficult.

And yes, in the meantime, get the TF-100 and start testing the water... you'll know if they are doing stuff wrong very quickly.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
It is a little expensive, I am not going to lie, but it's not difficult.
I'm not sure what Fred was referring to here, but just to be clear: Taking care of your pool yourself with TFP methods is the absolute least expensive option for pool care, usually by quite a lot. You'll go from about $150 a month (for the pool guy) to about $150 a year (for the few chemicals the TFP method utilizes). That was my experience, anyway...
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The thread Herman referred you to has pictures of the solution I came up with for my pool chemical storage. I keep them locked, too, whenever kids are in the pool.

You might have misread my earlier post: it was likely acid that caused that damage to the door, not the chlorine. I like Herman's idea of using that room just for pool toys and maybe the pool brush/scoop tools, and keep the chemicals elsewhere, in all-plastic storage bins.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,319
Corona de Tucson, AZ
It's a little expensive referred to having a pool in the context of being a new owner. Yes the chemicals are about $150 a year, test kit refills are about $50... but I've had to replace about that much stuff in the course of the year, so.. if you do it yourself, I think you are in it for more like $500 a year. Plus, the extra utilities (water, electric, gas if you heat) are probably another $500+ a year... so you are looking at a minimum of $100/mo to have a pool.

That is what I was referring to. Yes a service will cost you at least another $100/mo.....
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,624
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Gotcha. Yes, pools are not cheap, for sure! It's like owning a convertible sports car. Lots of fun, but only fair-weather fun, not all that practical, regular maintenance required...
 

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