Getting my pool ready - first time opening it up

Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#1
So we opted to open up the pool ourselves this year. I uncovered it last weekend and found it was still nice and clear (which was a huge relief). We ordered the Taylor K-2006 test kit and I was able to test the water this morning. Below are my findings and what I am doing:

FC - 0
pH - 6.8 ppm
TA - 70 ppm
CH - 140 ppm
CYA - 150 ppm

Since the CYA is so high I am in the middle of draining out some of the water (pool calculator recommended 67%) so that I can refill and test again to get a baseline for balancing the other chemicals. We are going to use the BBB method this summer and switch over to a SWG next year.

In what order do we need to add the chemicals to be effective, and do we need to SLAM the pool at the start? Trying to determine how much bleach, borax, and baking soda to go buy so that we can start this process. I should have the pool refilled by tomorrow afternoon and I know time will not be on my side. Can I do all of the work before and after my normal job, or is it better saved for a weekend where I can retest every few hours and add chemicals?
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#3
PH into mid 7 range first, then FC to match your new CYA number.
Thanks for the info! I thought that might be the right answer but we are still new at this so I figured it was better to ask than to assume. :)

The pool is almost filled back up to the proper level so I hope to be able to take a reading when I get home and see if I drained enough to get the CYA down to the correct level. If not, I'll drain another 25% and refill it. My main concern now is algae growth since I can't run the pump with the water level low and whether or not I can effectively SLAM the pool during the work week. I'll have about an hour between 5am-6am to do any work and then 4:30pm-9pm each day. I'm hoping that is enough time to do a few tests and to bring the FC level back up to SLAM.

I bought 12 gallons of 10% Liquid Chlorine, 20 lbs of Baking Soda, and 4 boxes of Borax at the store yesterday with the hopes that it would get me at least partially through the SLAM process.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,828
Tallahassee, FL
#4
For right now do not do anything with the Borax. That will in the far future. We want you to get to know your pool first.

Working people SLAM:

1-after first cup of coffee
2-when you get home and change clothes
3-right after dinner
4-right before bed

This has been found to be doable and gets the job done. Of course when you get time to do extra tests and dosing on the weekends.

Kim:kim:
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#5
Thanks for the additional info!

I just re-tested after a partial drain/fill and my levels are:

FC - 0.4
pH - 7.4
TA - 90
CH - 130
CYA - 90

Definitely trending in the right direction. I am continuing to fill the pool as it still needs to rise about 5" before it's back to normal levels. I'll test again tomorrow (unless the pool fills tonight) and recheck. If the CYA level hasn't dropped to the 30-50 ppm range I will do another partial drain and fill (less severe) until the numbers line up.
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#7
Well, tested CYA this morning after a hard rainstorm came through last night and filled the pool. It still appears to be holding around 90 ppm so I plan to do another drain/fill this evening. We're scheduled for 20-30% rain every day this week with another big storm this Saturday so I am hoping the rain can help refill the pool and help us avoid a huge water bill this month.

My worry now is algae growth since there are zero chemicals in the pool. For now it is still clear but I don't know if we need to try to drain/fill one more time and go ahead and start the SLAM asap afterwards to try to prevent algae growth. I'm concerned that all of the rain will make a SLAM near impossible to manage. Any suggestions on how we need to address the potential issue?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,828
Tallahassee, FL
#8
I would put enough FC in it to get it to SLAM level and let it run over night to keep the algae at bay. THEN do the drain and let the rain do it's thing.

You can add FC and use a broom or such to mix it in while walking around the pool. IF you have a sub pump you can use it to move the water as well.

Kim:kim:
 

JVTrain

TFP Expert
Feb 3, 2014
5,080
Central Minnesota
#9
If you're on municipal water, let the city or whoever sends you your water bill that the excess water you're using this month is being used to refill your pool. This way, they may waive the sewer charges per 1000 gallons since the water is not going into the sewer system. Any excess water volume that I use in April or May above what my usage was in February, the city waives the sewage fees because they know I refill about 3000 gallons each spring. Sewage fees are the most expensive part of water... at least where I live.
 

stodds

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2016
94
Round Rock, TX
#10
I suspect that your CYA was over 150. If you actually drained all but a third of your water, you'd be much lower than 90. If it were me, I'd go another 2/3 drain, assuming you are confident in your 90ppm CYA reading. Then, I'd get some chlorine in there, and start filling. Thing is, when you start filling, you'll still be at 90 ppm CYA, with 1/3 the volume. So, I'd dose to the appropriate level considering 90 CYA, and 1/3 volume. Once full, test everything (will likely need to add acid to get your pH to SLAM start level) and get a slam started. If you're lucky, you may pass the "done with SLAM" criteria quickly.

But, that's just me. I'm not an expert yet.
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#11
I would put enough FC in it to get it to SLAM level and let it run over night to keep the algae at bay. THEN do the drain and let the rain do it's thing.

You can add FC and use a broom or such to mix it in while walking around the pool. IF you have a sub pump you can use it to move the water as well.

Kim:kim:
Good advice. I should probably do that when I get home. At the moment since the water level is at full I am running the pump to circulate the water so adding in the FC should be fine for circulation temporarily. I'll add it first thing when I get home once I retest the pH and make sure it's ok.

If you're on municipal water, let the city or whoever sends you your water bill that the excess water you're using this month is being used to refill your pool. This way, they may waive the sewer charges per 1000 gallons since the water is not going into the sewer system. Any excess water volume that I use in April or May above what my usage was in February, the city waives the sewage fees because they know I refill about 3000 gallons each spring. Sewage fees are the most expensive part of water... at least where I live.
Unfortunately, we are on city water and septic, so we are only billed for water usage. Hopefully the rain will take care of some of the next fill. :)

I suspect that your CYA was over 150. If you actually drained all but a third of your water, you'd be much lower than 90. If it were me, I'd go another 2/3 drain, assuming you are confident in your 90ppm CYA reading. Then, I'd get some chlorine in there, and start filling. Thing is, when you start filling, you'll still be at 90 ppm CYA, with 1/3 the volume. So, I'd dose to the appropriate level considering 90 CYA, and 1/3 volume. Once full, test everything (will likely need to add acid to get your pH to SLAM start level) and get a slam started. If you're lucky, you may pass the "done with SLAM" criteria quickly.

But, that's just me. I'm not an expert yet.
In reality I drained down to about 6" in the shallow end (10 ft deep end) and re-filled, so it wasn't the 67% that the calculator recommended. I was concerned with the liner not having pressure on it so I refilled it with the intent of doing another partial drain and fill. Last night my pH was 7.4 so I don't think it's too far off. I'm going to retest this evening to see where it stands with the water in it prior to beginning the SLAM.

My main goal is to keep the water clear and try to have some level of chemicals in it until I get the CYA correct and adjust from there. Hoping that's the right answer. I appreciate everyone's advice! It is very well needed for us.
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#13
Ok so I retested the water after last night's rain and decided to at least start the SLAM process to try to combat the cloudiness beginning to develop.

FC - 8.8 (I just added 3 gallons of 10% liquid chlorine and am waiting a few and adding the rest to bring it to the recommended SLAM level.)
pH - 7.5
CYA - 60!!

I didn't test anything else for the time being as I need to get some FC going asap. I am also doing a little more draining and refilling at the same time (understand it may be a bit counterproductive) and hoping that with tonight's rain we get down around the 40-45 ppm mark on the CYA. At 60 ppm CYA the calculator recommends holding my FC level at 24 ppm, so that is my initial target. 3 gallons got me to 8.8 (I only waited about 20 minutes before testing with the pump circulating) so I am about to retest since it's been about 45 minutes now and then go from there. I feel a bit more relief at this point. :)
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#15
Me too. :)

I added 6 gallons of 10% liquid chlorine at 6pm and that got me to 26 ppm. I just retested at 8pm and was down to 24 ppm. I'll recheck it at 9pm to see if it drifts below and if so I'll bring it back up to 26 before bed. I'll retest in the morning and add if needed and then test again when I come home tomorrow and continue to test. Hopefully that's enough to maintain the SLAM until the weekend.
 
#16
... hoping that with tonight's rain we get down around the 40-45 ppm mark on the CYA (from 60ppm)
For all practical purposes, you can ignore the rain and go about business as usual. Let say you get an inch of rain, that's 500 gallons on 30.000 or less than 2%. You need to exchange 20-25% water to drop from 60 to 45ppm CYA. Don't overfill knowing rain is coming, but at the same time don't wait for the rain when doing adjustments.

You're doing great so far. keep up the work. Hopefully it will be a quick SLAM process
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#17
I wanted to update this thread as to where I am now in the SLAM process.

As of last night when I got home (after not treating all day):

FC - 20 (goal is 24)
pH - 7.5
TA - 80

I brought it back up to 24 and it was still holding 24 two hours later when I went to bed.

As of this morning:

FC - 21
pH - 7.5
TA - 80

I brought it up to about 25 before leaving for work and will re-test when I get home.

CYA is still holding around 60 which is a tad high, but I'll reduce it down a little further once I can pass the OCLT. Getting closer though! The pool is crystal clear now. :)
 
#18
It's good to hear your pool is clearing up. :D The FC drop overnight is still showing that there are some organics in there. Be sure to keep brushing.

You don't have to test pH at the moment since FC above 10 will not give accurate readings. You really only need to worry about FC and CC until the SLAM is complete.

Keep up the good work.
 
OP
OP
N
Oct 19, 2016
18
Huntsville, AL
#19
As an update, I passed the OCLT test Friday night with a drop from 24 to 23 ppm of FC. I went ahead and let the FC start drifting down to it's normal level of 7-9 ppm. Now it's time to test the rest of the water.

As of this morning:

FC: 18
pH: 7.4
TA: 40
CYA: 60 (I need to partially drain after all the rain we've gotten this weekend.

The pool school recommends that my TA levels remain between 50-90 ppm. I have just finished mixing the recommended amount of baking soda with pool water in a bucket and poured it in slowly. About 1/2 was poured in front of a jet, and the other half into the skimmer. I'm surprised that my pH has held so steadily during all of this, but so far so good. Hoping that we're on the downhill slope towards enjoying a TF summer!