First-time pool owner - have a lot to learn

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
So, first off, I'd like to thank the community for what I've already learned from reading the helpful articles. I have a ton of questions about the pool that came with this house I purchased, so I'll try to keep it organized. The previous owners always rented out the property, and didn't share any info on the pool. That said, it seems like it was at least somewhat maintained...

First test results (from Friday):
Free CI2 - 0.4ppm
Combined CI2 - 1ppm
pH 7.6
TA - 140ppm
CH - 800+ppm
CYA - 100ppm

I went to the pool store (it was previously recommended to stay away from walmart/home depot chlorine, though that doesn't seem to be the consensus here)...and they sold me 2lb of granular shock @ about $7/lb, and said in AZ due to the heat, that liquid chlorine doesn't work well (not necessarily right now, but in another month or so when it's always 85 degrees+). I added about 3oz, and the remainder today (the bag suggested 3oz every couple days). I tested my chlorine today, and it didn't seem much higher than the 1st test.

On the CH - We do have really hard water here to begin with...I stopped after 80 drops...not sure if I was doing something wrong, or if I should try again w/ the 10mL sample instead of 25mL. Everything else seemed ok I think.

Questions...
1) Is the pool store guy honest about granular chlorine vs. liquid in times of high-heat?
2) my pool is not rectangular, but roughly 15' x 26', and roughly 5.5' deep at the deepest point. I've been told it might be roughly 15k gallons, but not sure exactly. Any hints on how to best measure the pool volume?
3) how do I figure out what all my equipment does? or rather, all the valves. Only 1 was labelled (T-fitting in front of the pump. One side Vac, the other Skim).
4) Can't figure out the pool light...it seems there's some aquadyne device with a remote, but not sure if that's still active/connected. how would I troubleshoot this?
5) The pump for the water feature is disconnected - is this something I would simply have an electrician connect?
6) I don't even know how the timer/pump control works...I've manually turned the pump off to clear out the basket in there, and then turned it back on, but if I want it to vac, how would I turn it on as demanded)

I think that's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure as I learn more, there will be new questions. I took lots of pictures of everything already, but don't want to upload them all right now, as I think it may make more sense to start a separate thread for each question. Is that permissible/desirable (at least for things that don't have quick/easy answers)
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
That granular shock that the pool store sold you has CYA or Calcium in it. Both of which you have way too much in your pool water. Liquid chlorine is superior for daily maintenance as it only adds chlorine and, water. Or get a Saltwater Chlorine Generator that makes your chlorine.
Tomorrow start a plan to drain / exchange the bulk of your pool water. It is time for fresh water due to your CH and CYA.

I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry and consider reviewing the entire Pool School eBook.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
Ok, so the line he gave me about not using liquid chlorine above 85° is...basically inaccurate then?

So, being completely unfamiliar with how to drain/fill the pool, how would I go about that? Would it be feasible to drain just half, or should I do a complete drain/fill?

Can you point me in the right direction for how I would come up with a drain/fill plan?

Will the CYA and CH not naturally lower due to evaporation and filling over time?

Thanks!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
CYA and CH are dissolved solids. They do not leave the pool due to evaporation.

As you live in Arizona, you can drain your pool and refill. The issue is plaster does not like to dry out in the summer sun. So the sooner you do it, the better. You can rent a high power pump from Home Depot and drain the pool and immediately start filling with as many hoses as you can. Find out where you are supposed to send the old pool water.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
CYA and CH are dissolved solids. They do not leave the pool due to evaporation.

As you live in Arizona, you can drain your pool and refill. The issue is plaster does not like to dry out in the summer sun. So the sooner you do it, the better. You can rent a high power pump from Home Depot and drain the pool and immediately start filling with as many hoses as you can. Find out where you are supposed to send the old pool water.
So, presumably I would just call the city (water/sewer utility) to determine that... I'll give them a call when they open tomorrow...

As for drying out...it's going to hit the mid 90's this week for the high...how long should I expect it to take to drain and fill, and would that time be enough to worry about drying out?

If I can only get 2 hoses into it, at 2 gal/minute each, it would be about 30-35 hours to fill 15k gallons, does that sound about right? Do I need to leave it empty or is there anything I should do while I have it empty?

I of course won't leave the hoses on overnight until I verify the fill rate and verify calculations 😁
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
Also, in regards to the equipment & valves...I don't really know how to use any of the controls. Is that something the forum can help me with, or should I have a pool company come out and show me the ropes, inspect, and label everything for me? If so, what would be a reasonable price range for such a visit?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
I suspect your hoses should put out more flow than that. Most do 5+GPM.

The rental sump pump can pump 4000+ gallons per hour. So drain will be quick.
You can spray the plaster while it is refilling. Biggest risk is when the sun is shining on the plaster.

There is a slow exchange process I can provide but for your situation, the drain/refill is easier.

As far as controls/valves, take lots of pictures and post them up. You might have to use a photo sharing site or become a TFP supporter for more server space. Our Expert members can help you out.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
Thanks I appreciate it!

As for spraying the plaster, is that something pretty easy to DIY, or is that something typically recommended to hire out? What am I looking at in terms of cost, and is there a general age at which it should be done? I still have to research the age of the pool. Right now it's max 15 years, as that's how old the house is, but im not sure if it was built later.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
Just try to wet down the plaster if it happens to be in direct sun. You can use a sprinkler, etc.

The risk is cracking of the plaster. Then it can fail and start spalling, or falling off, the gunite.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
Hah...I thought you meant spraying it in a sense of some sort of product or coating, not just to keep it wet.

Thanks! Looks like in my area I can just drain to the sewer clean out, and it should take roughly 4-5 hours to drain, and another 25 to fill.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
With the high powered pumps from Home Depot that you rent, be careful going to the sewer cleanout. You can over whelm it and back up into the house. Just be aware of it. Also be sure you get enough hose to get to the cleanout.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
Thanks for the warning. Would it be correct to assume that the pump speed it typically adjustable?

In regards to backing up into the house, would I just need to keep an eye on my toilets/sinks? How frequently would I need to check to make sure I catch a backup before it's too late?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
I do not believe the pumps they rent are adjustable.

Most likely spot to back up to is a tub or shower. It is not likely, just something to be aware of. The pumps move a lot of water quickly.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
So, instead of going back to sleep when I woke up at 5am, I've been reading through most articles on here, and think I'll do my tests again, with the extended direction I found. When I did my CH test, I think I was reaching the fading endpoint, but was unaware of that possibility. As for the CYA, ill check it again and make sure im in sunlight (was doing it in the shade before for comfort).

I'll post back the results when I have them
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
875
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Thanks for the warning. Would it be correct to assume that the pump speed it typically adjustable?

In regards to backing up into the house, would I just need to keep an eye on my toilets/sinks? How frequently would I need to check to make sure I catch a backup before it's too late?
Most utilities recommend a sewer discharge rate of no more than 720 gallons per hour (12 gallons per minute). Check with your local utility for pool water discharge guidelines. You may be able to discharge more volume into the street/storm drains.
 

spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
387
Peoria, AZ
Welcome fellow desert dweller.

Now is definitely the time to drain/refill is you are going to before fall. I believe most pool services don’t recommended this after 80 or 90 for liability reasons due to the heightened risk for plaster damage. Based on what Marty said about spraying, you can time it right to avoid the heat and sun as much as possible.

Your pool will be much easier to maintain with fresh water as you will know what chemicals are/aren’t in the water from the previous owners. Generally speaking you’ll want to keep your CYA somewhat close to the max here in PHX, then maintain chlorine according to the CYA level you have. I always use liquid chlorine and only use tablets if I’m away on vacation (since they raise CYA). This is a good reason not to completely max out your CYA level if you travel frequently and need to occasionally use tabs.
 

Viperscorpio

Well-known member
May 25, 2019
48
Arizona
thanks! I'm a bit worried about the plaster now, so I think I'll give the replacement strategy a try. I saw another post essentially about putting a bucket on the steps, and filling with supply, while pumping out from the deep end. My supply would be warmer than the pool.

What CYA level would be suggested here in the valley of the sun? I wouldn't say I'm travelling "frequently", at least not without someone else home to look after the pool, but we try for 1-2 vacations/yr 1-2 weeks in length.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,754
Laughlin, NV
You can exchange some water without draining.

If you place a low volume sub pump in the deep end and pull water from there while adding water in the shallow end (through a skimmer or into a bucket on a step so you lessen the water disturbance) you can do a fairly efficient exchange. That is assuming the water you are filling with is the same temperature or warmer than your pool water. If your fill water is much cooler than your pool water, then switch it. Add the water to the deep end (hose on bottom) and pull water from the top step.

The location of the pump and fill hose may change if you have salt water, high calcium, etc.
In my pool, with saltwater and high calcium when I drain, I put the pump in the deep end and hose in shallow end. The water in the pool weighs more per unit volume than the fill water from the hose.

Be sure to balance the water out and water in so the pool level stays the same. Also be sure your pool pump is disabled during this process. Once started do not stop until you have exchanged the amount of water you wish.
 

spoonman

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2016
387
Peoria, AZ
There are CYA recommendations in the pool school area. I’d suggest 55-60 to start with a max of 70-75. This would give you a bit of extra breathing room if you need to use a few occasional pucks while on vacation.

I think the partial drain is a great idea. Much safer with nominal additional cost. Also, your CYA is all that much higher than it needs to be. If you dropped it 30% you’d be set. CH at 560 (800 less 30%) would also be quite acceptable. Anything more is a bonus and I’m sure you can easily replace the majority of the water.
 
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