Foreclosure swamp and errant pool service?

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Greeting, all. I am the lucky owner of a 17 x 35 Grecian styled vinyl liner in ground that was built at the bottom of a terraced hill close to a forest, septic tank, and river ;) As such, it has features I presume are directly related (sump, perimeter drainage, etc.)

Pool service guys, who I now understand may be evil, took the winter cover off. I knew it was bad because of the singing frogs. Post-frog apocalypse, we mapped out a strategy whereby I pay them great gobs of money to net out the organics, supershock and flock. They didn't really want to bring in a trash pump because with the well water, they were worried about replacing water fast enough and avoiding a possible collapse. I believe that's pool guy speak for they didn't trust me to make certain the level didn't drop unsupervised and didnt want to be liable.

So three trips, $770 and a week later, I've seen no change in particulate level. They seemed to think floc would perchance replace the hard work of netting it out, because last night I easily found another wheelbarrow of leaf debris at the bottom of the deep end. They seemed surprised that their idea of shock (6 bags) netted only a hint of color change. The started to try to vacuum the shallow end after an unsuccessful flock, and broke the skimmer basket, and I suspect clogged the impeller, which I will now have to learn to disassemble, clean and seal. They're not coming back til next Wed. The instructed me to floc again on Sunday night.

I am thinking none of these plans will work out until/unless I A) remove more organic matter manually and b) supershock to 15 or higher to break down what's left if I can get pressure back at the pump and THEN floc.

Now, I'm a noob at pool school, but I've consistently seen reference to high sustained shock levels. Why do these guys not seem to agree?

Can anyone whose ever recovered a debris-filled pool outline the steps I should take -- at this rate, I fear the pool guys will end up soaking me for almost as much as a new liner and a truck full of water would ave cost. So I'd like to progress the recovery in the interim, sans pool guys billable hours except where it makes sense.

I believe he's told me the pool has 22,000 gallons, a Hayward 220t sand filter. Prior to the vacuum attempt, all mechanicals were deemed to be in good working order. The water is black, but turns brownish with shock, then back to back. They say they've removed 10 wheelbarrows full of leaves o far (clearly, when foreclosed, someone at some point left the cover off.)

So, should I 1. Net out more debris
2. Supershock to 15 ppm FC and sustain
3 then apply the floc?

Also, re pressure drop -- is it safe to run recirculate with low pressure, or will I burn out the pump? It's primed, but seems to also be getting air. On backwash, I do get water through. Right now I have it off until I figure out what to do next. But I suspect I shoukd not add shock etc until I've loved this one right?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer!
 

zea3

Mod Squad
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Jul 10, 2009
12,696
Houston, Texas
Hi, welcome to TFP! We have had several folks in situations like yours clean up their pools without draining and starting over. First thing you need to do is order a high quality FAS-DPD test kit such as the TF 100 or a Taylor K2006. This type of test kit will allow you to test chlorine levels up to and greater than 50 ppm with accuracy. Most of the test kits found in stores only test up to 5 ppm of chlorine, which is not high enough for the shock process.

You also need to remove as much of the organic debris as possible, so keep netting out the pool. Water clean-up will go quicker once all the leaves are gone. Read through pool school, especially the articles shocking your pool and defeating algae.

Go ahead and take a sample of water to a local pool store for testing and post the results back here. It is vital that we have all the following results: free chlorine, combined chlorine, calcium, total alkalinity, pH, and CYA (also known as conditioner or stabilizer). Don't buy anything from the pool store at this time. Once you post the results we can tell you what you need to do to get started.
 

GreatCanadian

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 28, 2011
844
St. John's, Newfoundland
Sorry to say, but yeah the pool service guys are soakin' ya!! Keep poking around this site, LISTEN to the advice these guys give, and you WILL have your pool up and running, and SPARKLING. The method the pool service guys ain't gonna work, and it will cost you a fortune.
 

firepilot

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 26, 2011
76
Lewiston Idaho
Your in the right place! I am also a pool noobie and had a company take care of everything at great expense. None of this stuff is very hard, the advice here is timely and spot on. Like has been said get a good test kit, I bought the one recommended here on the site all the time.

Good luck its going to be just fine.

Phil
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
24,179
SouthWest Alabama
Welcome to TFP.

1) You should scoop out as much of the debris as you can even if doing it blind.

2) Once you get all the stuff you possibly can out you should start (or continue in your case) shocking the pool and hold it there. In order to know what your shock level is we need to know what your CYA level is. Even if it started out at zero, depending on what the "pool guys" used for shock, it could be a lot higher.

3) Wait till you pass the OCLT and have let the filter try to do it's job before you even consider floc.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Hi all! Thanks for the welcome, tops and encouragement. I ordered the tf100 kit, but it's not due to arrive til the 4th. In the interim, I netted out more debris, cleaned the pump seal, got pressure back and started filtering yesterday. Using my hot tub strips as a makeshift/temp solution, I decided to attempt to actually shock it since the pool guys already had put in 6 lbs and had me add another 6 lbs. Once I read more deeply, I bought 6 cases of 6. percent beach instead.

Thurs I had asked pool guy by phone about the reading and although he said I was getting ahead of myself, did say ph was at 6.5, TA was at 70, zero chlorine, zero cya (which sounded odd). he humored me and added something to adjust the ph (because I knew I wanted to get chlorine to actually work this weekend).

After 20 gallons of bleach, I did get chlorine up to "10" -- the highest on my test strip. According to the pool calculator, it should actually be more like 15 ppm. It actually did lighten the water, and the filter now seems to take longer between back washes.

At first, I had to backwash every 20 min (at 25 psi...I now suspect from further reading I could let it get closer to 30 safely, right?) I have a multiport valve, so I've also been rinsing.

What I am wondering about at this point is whether I should just keep doing this all week until my kit is in, (maintaining high shock and filtering) and reschedule pool guy to come back the week after (he owes me the first vacuuming -- not new money as it was included in first bill). It sounds like that's a better plan than flocking and stopping filter Sunday night.

I was also wondering if adding de through the skimmer might expedite.

I will attempt pics today (it's still dark now) and get real readings as soon as I am able.
Thanks again and cheers!
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
34,478
Sebring, Florida
Yes, OCLT is what you think but it will be meaningful at the end of your clearing process.....not now.

You will do better to backwash @ 25psi probably. You lose so much flow when you let the psi get too high that you wast a lot of time not moving much water. We suggest a 25% increase over clen psi and then backwash.

Don't add the DE yet. it will clog up your filter faster. As your water gets almost clear, then you might put some in but don't use it 'til then.

Yes, keep the process going. Because you have no CYA, I would suggest you only chlorinate three times daily....Once in the EARLY AM, once again just as soon as the afternoon sun is off the pool, and thenonce more before you go to bed....bring it up to shock value each time.

Once your kit arrives, (you must live in the far West to get that long of a delivery date?), post a full set of numbers and we'll all help you get some CYA in the pool and finish up the clearing process. :lol:
 

maxepr1

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2011
716
DFW
Do yourself a favor and Deep Six the pool guy. I'm sure he's getting sense that he's not going to be needed anymore. Walmart has CYA (stabilizer) for around $15 for 4 lb. tub.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Thanks! I will skip the de for now!
I am attempting to upload pics now. So far, the psi this am is at 22 after 2.5 hrs running, so thats an improvement.
Water changed color overnight to yellowish green. can almost see second step!

I am suspicious of iron content as I know from the first owners before the foreclosed owners that they filled it with the well water.

I plan to go to pool store today to ask for test so I can post real numbers and not be operating so blindly. Little strips seem to suggest that cya low/acceptable, ph and alk midrange, and lost about half or more of chlorine overnight (reads around 5 ppm).

Should I get a sequestrate/metal out while I'm there? I know it cleans up my hot tub water quickly, which is otherwise yellowish!

Also, I'm in mich, and ordered the stupid kit online last we'd. Can't quite understand why delivery is predicted to take so long. Usually anything I order gets here in 2 days. I had expected to have
the kit fri ;(
Here's the pics, I think:

Okay, I'm on an iPad and can't seem to get attachment file to let me select a pic for upload. Will have to go investigate on real computer!
 

maxepr1

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2011
716
DFW
Worked! Yep it's green! Bleach, lots of it! Be sparkling soon! I wouldn't buy any metal agents yet. I wouldn't hold allot of accuracy in the pool stores testing either. TFT will be the best.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
Swampwoman,

I looked back to last Wednesday and we did not receive an order from Michigan. The TF-100 ships the same day the order is received so, unless there is an electronic glitch we are unaware of, you must've ordered a different kit somewhere else.

We are pretty adamant about our shipping procedures and want to help you track down your order if you got it from us, but we have no record of it.

I can search ALL dates if you will PM me your last name.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Nope, not a TF-100. Keep the chlorine up and post the pool store results. The tests where they seem to make the biggest errors is on CYA so I'd wait 'til your kit gets in for that. We'll make do with the other results.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Oh, Crud, I just checked my shipment notice -- I MEANT to buy the tf100 but it looks like I bought this instead somehow (was rushing at the time) Taylor Complete FAS-DPD Pool Water Test Kit K-2006.

Sorry for the confusion, Dave!

Pool store seemed suspicious of my request for water analysis, likely b/c the couldn't actually give the exact specifics I requested.

Tc - 8.4
FC - 8.4
Ph - 6.8
TA - 135
Calcium hardness - 75
Not a peep about cya, and the little metals machine barely registered so they don't think I have iron issue (although I have a known iron issue in this well, with yellowed source water...???)

I bought ph up since I needed it for the hot tub as well. I'm going to add more chlorine and aim for double.

I welcome any and all other suggestion about guessing out the cya or increasing.

Thanks and cheers
(ps filter has gone for more than 3 hrs and psi still at 18, which is better. Might not e tethered o it soon ;)
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Ppss for Dave, just FYI, my order said it was shipping from amazon partner amato industries, and I checked my history: I had googled tf100 and there was a sponsored amazon link that took NE to the k2006...too bad because I wanted the 100 since I suspect I'll be testing a lot ;) just thought you'd be interested to know!
 

maxepr1

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 21, 2011
716
DFW
Go to Walmart and buy yourself Arm & Hammer Baking soda for raising your PH. I'm sure you paid about 5 times to much at the pool store! Also while your there go to the pool section a get yourself some Stabilizer (active ingredient Cynaric Acid) HTH should be the brand 4 lbs. for $15. Probably going to need at least 2. Then wait for your kit. Try to remove as much debris as possible from the pool. Could dump 2 gallons of bleach in while your waiting for your kit.