First Pool - No Idea what to do - Chlorine levels are good according to test strip - Cloudy water after starting to vacuum

rbrow039

Member
May 22, 2021
6
Hawkesbury, Ontario
Hey first time trying to open/maintain a pool (officially starting to hate it already)

Ok so long story short, we bought a house with a pool. The house was the nicest one in our price range so we went for it, I would have preferred no pool and a larger yard...but here we are with the wife and kids outvoting me. I have no idea how to open a pool. I've watched some videos on youtube for above ground pools and it's still not helping me. I've got the chlorine levels where they should be according to the strips I have, but the portions of the strip for alkalinity and PH are showing nothing....which I find difficult to believe. Water should still show up somewhere in the PH range between 6.5 and 8.5, do I have defective strips maybe?

I'm also having difficulty getting the algae out of the bottom of the pool with the vacuum, it just seems to stir up and "muddy" the water rather than get sucked up.

So I have some questions:
1) Is there a digital sensor that I can use to measure chemical levels in the pool? I think it would be more accurate than using a test strip.
2) How do I get that algae out of the pool? The vacuum has suction, I checked that. It's starting to tick me off and I'm tempted to just completely drain the pool and clean it by hand/shop vac instead.
3) What kind of automation is available to make my life easier in the future? I frankly don't want to waste a lot of my time cleaning/maintaining a pool that I hate and would rip out of the ground if it wasn't for my wife and kids. I do not want to pay for a yearly service to keep costs down as much as possible.

Thank you
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
47,422
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Welcome to the forum!
You need to follow the SLAM Process. To do that, you need a proper test kit. I suggest the TF-100 A proper test kit is needed to get the accurate water chemistry results needed to follow the TFP protocols.

While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
Some videos that might help you along -- TFP-TV - Trouble Free Pool
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

rbrow039

Member
May 22, 2021
6
Hawkesbury, Ontario
75 bucks for a test kit seems a bit high to me, is there anything cheaper? It seems crazy to me that someone hasn't come along and said...you know what....maintaining a pool should be a lot easier than it currently is...time to automate it...build machine for mass market consumption....just dump chemicals into machine...it takes care of the rest.

I'm starting to think that ripping that pool out of the ground is the better option for me long term lol.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
47,422
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
can't go into a pool store currently anyway. We're on lockdown until mid June.
OK -- Canada. Getting a test kit is more of a challenge, and much more expensive.

You are not going to like any of our answers to get you started. Once you are fully going, the maintenance is very easy. But unless you are willing to get a proper test kit, we cannot help.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
50,401
Tallahassee, FL
Hi and welcome to TFP! We almost did not buy this house because it has a pool. I did NOT want a pool nor did I have a clue how to care for one. Like you I thought okay so I will see if I can learn. Look at me now....................a MOD on a pool forum :roll: LOL

The number one thing is a good test kit. I think you can buy the Taylor 2006 from your Royal Tire store. Make sure it is the 2006 not the 2005 as the 6 has more regents.

Please, please, please do NOT go to the pool $tore. I trusted them and their "free" testing in the beginning. It was not so free after buying all of their fixes. It turned in to a yo-yo of this to bring this up then this to bring that down. THEN I found TFP, got my own test kit m pool has been MUCH easier and cheaper.

THe neatest part is being able to buy the chemicals at Target or Walmart!!! How neat is that??? Look down at my signature to see the recommended chemicals!

Kim:kim:
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
That $75 test kit will be the best investment you'll make toward your pool care. It will help keep you from getting "pool stored". That's when an unsuspecting customer goes to a pool store for testing and then they get sold a bunch of potions and quick fixes they don't need. It usually cost them $200-$300 and often times does not solve their issues with their pool.

With a good test kit (either TF-100 or Taylor K2006C), you will be in full control of your pool and know what you need to add to clear up any issues. Those other cheaper kits don't contain the all important FAS-DPD chlorine test. They use a less accurate color matching test which just won't do if you ever get algae and have to perform what we call a SLAM (Shock, Level, and Maintain). You need that accurate drop test (FAS-DPD) to really know exactly how much chlorine to add to bring it up to shock level. Otherwise, you'll just be guessing with the other chlorine test.

Additionally, a lot of other test kits still don't have the CYA test in them, which is just as important as the chlorine test. Trouble Free Pool's teachings are based on the FC/CYA relationship. It is the cornerstone of keeping your pool "trouble free". If you learn nothing else from this site, remember the FC/CYA relationship and the chart that goes with it.
 

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,367
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
can't go into a pool store currently anyway. We're on lockdown until mid June.
The test strips you’re using have a nickname of “guess-strips”. They really don’t provide much accurate information. The good test kit will save you money in the long run.

It was a tough pill for me to swallow after I bought test strips, a $30 test kit from the pool store, algaecide, nob-chlorine shock, in-line chlorinator, and a bunch of other useless stuff to realize the TFP method is way easier and cheaper in the long run.
 

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rbrow039

Member
May 22, 2021
6
Hawkesbury, Ontario
That $75 test kit will be the best investment you'll make toward your pool care. It will help keep you from getting "pool stored". That's when an unsuspecting customer goes to a pool store for testing and then they get sold a bunch of potions and quick fixes they don't need. It usually cost them $200-$300 and often times does not solve their issues with their pool.

With a good test kit (either TF-100 or Taylor K2006C), you will be in full control of your pool and know what you need to add to clear up any issues. Those other cheaper kits don't contain the all important FAS-DPD chlorine test. They use a less accurate color matching test which just won't do if you ever get algae and have to perform what we call a SLAM (Shock, Level, and Maintain). You need that accurate drop test (FAS-DPD) to really know exactly how much chlorine to add to bring it up to shock level. Otherwise, you'll just be guessing with the other chlorine test.

Additionally, a lot of other test kits still don't have the CYA test in them, which is just as important as the chlorine test. Trouble Free Pool's teachings are based on the FC/CYA relationship. It is the cornerstone of keeping your pool "trouble free". If you learn nothing else from this site, remember the FC/CYA relationship and the chart that goes with it.

That $75 test kit will be the best investment you'll make toward your pool care. It will help keep you from getting "pool stored". That's when an unsuspecting customer goes to a pool store for testing and then they get sold a bunch of potions and quick fixes they don't need. It usually cost them $200-$300 and often times does not solve their issues with their pool.

With a good test kit (either TF-100 or Taylor K2006C), you will be in full control of your pool and know what you need to add to clear up any issues. Those other cheaper kits don't contain the all important FAS-DPD chlorine test. They use a less accurate color matching test which just won't do if you ever get algae and have to perform what we call a SLAM (Shock, Level, and Maintain). You need that accurate drop test (FAS-DPD) to really know exactly how much chlorine to add to bring it up to shock level. Otherwise, you'll just be guessing with the other chlorine test.

Additionally, a lot of other test kits still don't have the CYA test in them, which is just as important as the chlorine test. Trouble Free Pool's teachings are based on the FC/CYA relationship. It is the cornerstone of keeping your pool "trouble free". If you learn nothing else from this site, remember the FC/CYA relationship and the chart that goes with it.
I couldn't find the 2006C, but I did find the 2006, which I think just has less of the reagents? The options are limited here in Canada, and I can't even go into the pool store, so I have to rely on Walmart.ca, Amazon, Canadian Tire and Home Depot to get what I need online.
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
Same kit, only the reagents are .75 oz instead of 2 oz bottles, but it will work for now. If you have a green pool though, you will probably go through all your chlorine reagents just to get it clear, so be aware.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
47,422
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
There are a number of threads about Canadian members using cross border services to get test kits from the US.
 

rbrow039

Member
May 22, 2021
6
Hawkesbury, Ontario
Same kit, only the reagents are .75 oz instead of 2 oz bottles, but it will work for now. If you have a green pool though, you will probably go through all your chlorine reagents just to get it clear, so be aware.
Well the pool isn't green, it's more of a cloudy blue...although it's also hard to tell the exact colour because the liner also has a lot of light blue in it. I think I killed all of the algae, it looks like it's more of a brownish grey now...it just breaks apart when I try to vacuum it and the water goes back to cloudy and about 24-36 hours later, the stuff falls back to the bottom of the pool waiting for me to stir it up again. I MAY have dumped A LOT of 10.5% liquid chlorine into the pool to kill it (about 5 gallons worth into a 15000L pool).
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
If you can't see the bottom clearly, you need to follow the SLAM process, which is what can make those reagents go quickly. But if it's only a little cloudy, it may not take very long, only a few days or so.

One way to save on reagents is to only take a 5 mL sample of water (instead of 10), use one scoop of the R0870 powder to turn the sample pink (if there is any chlorine in the water) and then add your drops (R0871) to turn the sample clear. Then count those drops as 1 drop=1ppm (instead of 1 drop=.5ppm). There's a little bit more error built in doing it this way, but if you're low on reagents, this might allow you to get a few more tests done before replacement.
 

Toad_stools

Bronze Supporter
Jun 17, 2020
126
Southern Ontario Canada.
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Same kit, only the reagents are .75 oz instead of 2 oz bottles, but it will work for now. If you have a green pool though, you will probably go through all your chlorine reagents just to get it clear, so be aware.
Hey there. I am new to pools as well. This is my first year with our pool. People on this site are very knowledgeable and have helped me a lot. I’m also in Canada and last year I could not buy a Taylor 2006 kit anywhere. What I found out though is that there is a company called Lowry and Associates in Newmarket ON and they are the Canadian distributor for Taylor.
I was able to contact them and order direct from them and they shipped it to my house. I don’t recall how much it was. Not cheap but highly accurate. The negative IMO is that the CYA test requires a lot of reagent and there’s only enough included in the kit to do about 5 CYA tests. So if you do order the kit it’s worth ordering a couple of extra bottles of the CYA reagent.

good luck
 
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Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,367
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
Hey there. I am new to pools as well. This is my first year with our pool. People on this site are very knowledgeable and have helped me a lot. I’m also in Canada and last year I could not buy a Taylor 2006 kit anywhere. What I found out though is that there is a company called Lowry and Associates in Newmarket ON and they are the Canadian distributor for Taylor.
I was able to contact them and order direct from them and they shipped it to my house. I don’t recall how much it was. Not cheap but highly accurate. The negative IMO is that the CYA test requires a lot of reagent and there’s only enough included in the kit to do about 5 CYA tests. So if you do order the kit it’s worth ordering a couple of extra bottles of the CYA reagent.

good luck
Luckily CYA doesn't change all that much unless you add some or replace water.
 

LoneWolfArcher

Bronze Supporter
May 29, 2019
539
Michigan
I was in your shoes 2 years ago!! I was ready to remove our pool and pay to have the hole filled with dirt. Then i found this site, and KimKats and Marty helped me learn to love my pool!! So easy now.

The test kit seems expensive, but it was so worth it to not have to mess with those guess strips! Those strips will have you chasing your tail. Testing with a proper test kit will astound you with how easy your water chemistry becomes to maintain. The pool store well have a teenager testing your pool water and not caring one iota about accuracy.

Anyway, welcome to TFP. This place will make your life so much easier!
 
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