Basic pool maintenance for noobs!

Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
Hi, this is my first post so please bear with me. I have recently moved to a house with a pool and I wanted to learn how to maintain the pool. I had been reading, researching, and watching YouTubes to learn the tricks until one day, I read about the TFP by chance in another forum while people were talking about Trichlor and CYA. So now, I mainly use the PoolMath and the info on this site. I am still learning about TFP and I am sure other users know how to go through the pages and pages of valuable information more efficiently. So I apologize if my questions are already answered and discussed somewhere in the site.

Ok, about the pool: I tested the water at Leslie's a few weeks after I moved in and was told the water was very old and needed to be drained. 4-5 days after, I saw algae. Since I already wanted to drain the pool, I hired a company to chlorine wash it too. They did it 2 months ago. Since adding liquid chlorine was recommended here for chlorinating, I started doing that and avoid Dichlor and Trichlor products to maintain the CYA because I had fresh water. I got 10% liquid chlorine for $3.64 from Walmart. Leslie's told me to add 2 gallons per week. So I added 1.5 gallons and tested the water 2 days after, FC was zero. So I added 1.5 gallons and tested the water in 2 days, zero FC!

I finished a few gallons I had and went back to Leslie's. They offered me the Chlor Brite (sodium dichloro 99%) which I said I would prefer not to buy them because of Dichlor that would increase CYA. Then they suggested Power powder plus Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite 73% - image attached). They recommended adding one bag of 1lb every week. I did that for 3 weeks. 4 days after adding the shock FC was zero. So I thought it should be related to low CYA. I found a half-empty bucket next to the pump that had a few 3" tabs (not sure how old they are). So this time, I added one 1lb of 73% shock with 2 tabs in the floater. Again FC was zero after 3 to 4 days. I am kind of frustrated and think I am doing something wrong. And the worst thing is I tested the water on Friday and FC was zero and I had no bags left and we had guests and I could not go and buy some. Today (Sunday) I saw signs of algae in some areas and I need help.

Additional info:
Pool Type: Plaster
Pool capacity: 20,000 Gal
Climate: Dry and hot (Las Vegas)
 

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magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
192
Neenah, Wisconsin
Hi and welcome!

Do you have one of the recommended test kits?
Test Kits Compared

If so, post up a full set of test results and we’ll be able to give advice from there. If not, get one! Testing your own water is the cornerstone of the TFP method.

If you haven’t already, I’d also encourage you to read through ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry. It’s likely you’re going to need to SLAM (SLAM Process), but let’s see your test results first!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Howdy Boot! Welcome to the Forum...

So to start of with.. we need to know what the state of your pool's chemistry is. And for the methodology that is recommended here pool store testing is not reliable enough nor are pool strips. It sounds like you have already had the run around by the pool stores, so you know what I mean. To answer your questions and give you a course of action you need to know how to test your pool's chemistry on your own. As @magiteck said you need your own test kit. I'll save your the shopping and comparing. We use the Taylor based kits for our standard testing. We all know how that test kit works and we can help you with it. I recommend the kits from Tftestkits.net. They use Taylor based reagents and the reagents are in the proportion more common to they way most home owners test their pools ... you get more of what you need. and less of what you don't use much. The next closest match is the Taylor K-2006C. And I highly recommend the Speedstir too.. it makes the mixing more even and easier.

So read up on the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and fill in your signature with your pool equipment and info. It provides a ready reference to those that want to chime in.

In the meantime.. add 5ppm of liquid chlorine per day until your test kit comes.. Stop using the tablets since we don't know what your CYA levels are until you test them. It sounds like you may have already figured out that the tabs add CYA. Once we have your test results we can recommend a course of action. We can't recommend something until we know what we have to work with.

Don't hesitate to ask a question.. there is someone awake around here all the time it seems. ;)

BTW.. there is no such thing as "Old Water".. pool store terms for sending you down a rabbit hole drive me crazy!
 
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Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
Hi and welcome!

Do you have one of the recommended test kits?

If so, post up a full set of test results and we’ll be able to give advice from there. If not, get one! Testing your own water is the cornerstone of the TFP method.

If you haven’t already, I’d also encourage you to read through ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry. It’s likely you’re going to need to SLAM (SLAM Process), but let’s see your test results first!
Hi and thanks for your response. I have Poolmaster 5-Way Water Test Kit, it tests for Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Acid Demand, and Total Alkalinity. I bought it before knowing about TFP. Is that enough for giving advice? If not, I can test the water in the local pool store in the morning and update the thread.

Regarding the sign of algae, there were a few spots and I brushed them from the wall. But since there is no chlorine, they will come back soon. I left the pump running over the night, not sure if it helps or not!

And, yes, I have read the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry, multiple times. I am hoping to get advice before buying new chemicals from Leslie's.
 

magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
192
Neenah, Wisconsin
Hi and thanks for your response. I have Poolmaster 5-Way Water Test Kit, it tests for Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Acid Demand, and Total Alkalinity. I bought it before knowing about TFP. Is that enough for giving advice? If not, I can test the water in the local pool store in the morning and update the thread.

Regarding the sign of algae, there were a few spots and I brushed them from the wall. But since there is no chlorine, they will come back soon. I left the pump running over the night, not sure if it helps or not!

And, yes, I have read the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry, multiple times. I am hoping to get advice before buying new chemicals from Leslie's.
You’re going to need an FAS-DPD Chlorine test so you can measure above 5ppm, and also a CYA test kit. We need to know your CYA level to know how much chlorine you should have:
FC/CYA Chart

The TF100 is the best value as mentioned and I’d recommend getting one on order.

As mentioned, use PoolMath to determine how much bleach will add 5ppm chlorine, and add that amount daily until your test kit comes.

Then you’ll be on your way to freedom from the pool store and a trouble free pool!
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
The only chems you will need are pretty basic. Muriatic acid for adjusting your pH and liquid chlorine that you can get at Lowes, Home Depot or Walmart... stay away from the pool stores.. the prices are usually jacked up for the same product elsewhere. . Occasionally you'll need backing soda to adjust the pH, but that is cheaper from the baking aisle at your grocery store, its the same thing as the pool store potion for 10x the price.

Let me look up the pool master kit. It's missing the FAS-DPD I know for sure and it won't test FC higher than 5 ppm but you can at least get the basic test started. .. That is even better that having the pool store test it. They are not consistent at all.
 

Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
Howdy Boot! Welcome to the Forum...

So to start of with.. we need to know what the state of your pool's chemistry is. And for the methodology that is recommended here pool store testing is not reliable enough nor are pool strips. It sounds like you have already had the run around by the pool stores, so you know what I mean. To answer your questions and give you a course of action you need to know how to test your pool's chemistry on your own. As @magiteck said you need your own test kit. I'll save your the shopping and comparing. We use the Taylor based kits for our standard testing. We all know how that test kit works and we can help you with it. I recommend the kits from Tftestkits.net. They use Taylor based reagents and the reagents are in the proportion more common to they way most home owners test their pools ... you get more of what you need. and less of what you don't use much. The next closest match is the Taylor K-2006C. And I highly recommend the Speedstir too.. it makes the mixing more even and easier.

So read up on the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and fill in your signature with your pool equipment and info. It provides a ready reference to those that want to chime in.

In the meantime.. add 5ppm of liquid chlorine per day until your test kit comes.. Stop using the tablets since we don't know what your CYA levels are until you test them. Once we have your test results we can recommend a course of action. We can't recommend something until we know what we have to work with.

Don't hesitate to ask a question.. there is someone awake around here all the time it seems. ;)
Thank mguzzy for your response. I replied above about the kit I have now. It seems I need a new kit as you recommended.
Just a quick question about 5ppm that you suggested, so if the FC is zero now, I need to add whatever the app says to bring it to 5ppm, if it is 1, I need to bring it to 6, correct?
Also, do you guys recommend using only liquid chlorine 10%? And nothing stronger like Calcium Hypochlorite 73%?
 

magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
192
Neenah, Wisconsin
Thank mguzzy for your response. I replied above about the kit I have now. It seems I need a new kit as you recommended.
Just a quick question about 5ppm that you suggested, so if the FC is zero now, I need to add whatever the app says to bring it to 5ppm, if it is 1, I need to bring it to 6, correct?
Also, do you guys recommend using only liquid chlorine 10%? And nothing stronger like Calcium Hypochlorite 73%?
Correct on the chlorine. You can use any % of liquid chlorine, you’ll just need less of it as the % increases.

Cal Hypo will add calcium to your water. We’d need to know your Calcium Hardness to tell if it’s a viable option. Being in LV my guess is your water already has a lot of calcium so it’s probably going to be contraindicated. But once you get a full set of test results you’ll know for sure!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Thank mguzzy for your response. I replied above about the kit I have now. It seems I need a new kit as you recommended.
Just a quick question about 5ppm that you suggested, so if the FC is zero now, I need to add whatever the app says to bring it to 5ppm, if it is 1, I need to bring it to 6, correct?
Also, do you guys recommend using only liquid chlorine 10%? And nothing stronger like Calcium Hypochlorite 73%?
Yes, Liquid chlorine only. The tabs will eather add CYA or Calcium depending on which one. Liquid chlorine is Sodium Hypochlorite and comes in different strengths.. 10% is most common. Sometimes HASA pool stores will carry the 12.5 % stuff. You can also use generic bleach with no additives.. but stay away from the Clorox brand or anything that is scented or labeled as splashless. They have additives.

Yeah, just add 5ppm by the pool math app. if you already have 1ppm then it will go to 6pmm. no biggie. Much of that will get burned off by the sun or bio activity, but that is the minimal amount you want to add at this point until we figure out the other levels.
 

Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
The only chems you will need are pretty basic. Muriatic acid for adjusting your pH and liquid chlorine that you can get at Lowes, Home Depot or Walmart... stay away from the pool stores.. the prices are usually jacked up for the same product elsewhere. . Occasionally you'll need backing soda to adjust the pH, but that is cheaper from the baking aisle at your grocery store, its the same thing as the pool store potion for 10x the price.

Let me look up the pool master kit. It's missing the FAS-DPD I know for sure and it won't test FC higher than 5 ppm but you can at least get the basic test started. .. That is even better that having the pool store test it. They are not consistent at all.
Yes, I have Muriatic acid for pH. So only this and liquid chlorine?? :love:
Yes, I have noticed the pool stores just want to sell their products and the tests are not consistent. I have two Leslie's stores in the nearby intersection and I tested the water at both locations and the results are different. This is the kit I got.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Have you added anything else to your pool besides tabs and liquid chlorine? Stay away from the algecides.. alot of them have copper in them and they can stain your plaster. We will tell you if you need to add anything besides the basics.. the recommended chemicals sections gives a pretty good rundown on that:
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
I have two Leslie's stores in the nearby intersection and I tested the water at both locations and the results are different.
When you have lots of spare time on your hands, and you want to torture them, you can take the same water to both of stores and then show them the report the other store printed up.. then have them explain it to you. But you have to give them a different name or contact info, so don't just look you up in the computer. ;)
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
So I just ran your pool volume through pool math.. for a 20K pool raising your FC by 5ppm is a gallon.. that should be easy.. just add a gallon a day until your kit comes.
 

Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
Is liquid chlorine economical? It seems I need at least 12 gallons per month if not more. When is the best time to add liquid chlorine, in the morning or in the evening?

Cal Hypo will add calcium to your water. We’d need to know your Calcium Hardness to tell if it’s a viable option. Being in LV my guess is your water already has a lot of calcium so it’s probably going to be contraindicated. But once you get a full set of test results you’ll know for sure!
Yes, water is already hard here. And I read here about the point you made about Cal Hypo that increases the calcium.

Sometimes HASA pool stores will carry the 12.5 % stuff.

Much of that will get burned off by the sun or bio activity, but that is the minimal amount you want to add at this point until we figure out the other levels.
We dont have HASA stores here. So I got Muriatic acid from lowes and liquid chlorine 10% from Walmart. I should check lowes and see if I can get it cheaper there.

Have you added anything else to your pool besides tabs and liquid chlorine? Stay away from the algecides.. alot of them have copper in them and they can stain your plaster. We will tell you if you need to add anything besides the basics.. the recommended chemicals sections gives a pretty good rundown on that:
No. That's funny you said that because in the bucket I found a few tabs, there was also algecides and I thought I should ask in the forum before applying that.

When you have lots of spare time on your hands, and you want to torture them, you can take the same water to both of stores and then show them the report the other store printed up.. then have them explain it to you. But you have to give them a different name or contact info, so don't just look you up in the computer. ;)
I once told them the other store told me CYA was 50 only 3 days ago and you tell me it is 15! How is this even possible! And she said ok then you should not buy the conditioner that we mentioned in the print and we will text your water next month! :cheers:
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Is liquid chlorine economical? It seems I need at least 12 gallons per month if not more. When is the best time to add liquid chlorine, in the morning or in the evening?

Yes, water is already hard here. And I read here about the point you made about Cal Hypo that increases the calcium.

We dont have HASA stores here. So I got Muriatic acid from lowes and liquid chlorine 10% from Walmart. I should check lowes and see if I can get it cheaper there.

No. That's funny you said that because in the bucket I found a few tabs, there was also algecides and I thought I should ask in the forum before applying that.

I once told them the other store told me CYA was 50 only 3 days ago and you tell me it is 15! How is this even possible! And she said ok then you should not buy the conditioner that we mentioned in the print and we will text your water next month! :cheers:
OK.. one at a time:
Liquid chlorine is the most economical way to go.. unless you have a SWG (salt water generator) but lets leave this out of that now. The estimate of 5ppm/day is just that an estimate until we figure out your pools levels. Then once we get the algae under control you will get a handle on how much Cl your pool uses daily by testing it. We don't guess, we test. Some people like to chlorinate in the evenings so that it maximizes the sanitation of water since during the day, UV is degrading the chlorine at the same time. That's what I do, I run my SWG at night.

So if the water is hard, you will need to watch how much Cal Hypo you put in. It will be one of the things your TFTest Kit will test for. It would be wise to test your fill water so you know how much calcium is being added in your fill.

Some Leslie's sell HASA chlorine.. its usually sold in a yellow bin 4 gallons at a time. I keep some Cl on hand and I get it at Walmart. Just check the date code on the side so you get the most recent stuff. Cl is not like wine..it does not age well. it turns into water if left on its own.

Yes, ask before you put anything in your pool's water until you get a handle on what they do. A big tenet here is to know exactly what is in all the stuff you dump in your pool. I use MA, CYA and occasionally LC when I need to augment the SWG production. And Salt at the beginning of he pool season to get the SWG going. Once in while I need to adjust the CH.. that's it.

See, they can't even tell the difference between 50 and 15! HA!
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Thank you both for helping me out. I dont have a SWG. Can I chlorinate in the evenings but run the pump in the mornings? Or should pump run after chlorinating?

I am going to order TF-100. As for stirrer, does this work? www.amazon.com/dp/B072K24X5P
I know you don't have an SWG.. else you wouldn't be asking about how to chlorinate with pucks and liquid ;) but I do and the process of chlorinating is the same.. The only difference is my chlorine comes from a generator instead of a jug.

You need to run the pumps for about 30-60 minutes (depending on how your pool circulates) to insure the chlorine mixes. Chlorine is heavier than water and it would just sit on the bottom. The recommendation is to pour the chlorine in front of a return while the pump is running to help dispense it. How long do you run your pumps for?

Yeah that will work. I see they are back ordered on the TF website. The nice thing about the Speedstirrer is its backlit and the test vials fit stirrers little slot perfectly. a regular lab type stirrer will work, just make sure the beans (that's what I always called the stirrer magnets) are 1 inch to fit in the test vials. Sometimes they have them on ebay too. Perhaps you can order one and just wait for it to get to you. I'll shout out to @OTPirate to see if they would ship the kit right away and send the stirrer later. She will probably PM you.
 
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Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
Does anyone know what kind of filter this is? There are 4 Pleatco Pure cartridges inside and they are not very tall.
 

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Bootaa

Active member
May 27, 2020
33
Las Vegas, NV
Looks like a "Hayward SwimClear" cartridge Filter. At least that is what they are called here.
Normally a label on the side with all the details?
Model Cxxxx?
Thanks, CRAD_oz. The label has been peeled off. It's prob a Hayward since the pump, pressure gauge, and heater are also Hayward. Any other way to find out?