Help for 1st Time Pool Owner

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
I don't have a lot of info yet but wanted to at least see if I'm heading in the right direction. My TF-100 Test Kit is scheduled for delivery tomorrow, and about all I can tell you is the PH is about 7.4, and has been since I added PH Down powdered acid (almost 2 bottles). First off, this was the world's worst swamp. This was a foreclosure property and there is no telling how long it was neglected. I've been working on it about 4 weeks. I can't remember everything I've done, but I started with leaf brush and got maybe 50 FULL baskets of what looked like human flesh out of the pool. I added about 15 or 20 shock packages and got it blue and cloudy. Sand filter leaking so bad had to shut down - it went bad green again fast. Replaced sand filter and 350 lbs. sand. Shocked again about 10 packages shock and it's been blue ever since. Found this site and been dumping bleach in it. Continued scooping body parts and etc. out of pool. Had previously added some clarifier and some algaecide, but not a lot. Ran Vacuum to waste and sucked out lots of very smelly green slime. Started brushed walls and bottom each day, sometimes twice, about 4 days ago...continuing to dump 4 or 5 gallons of bleach in per day. The pool is blue, but in no way is it clear. I can see the bottom step, and almost see my brush when I place it on bottom next to lowest step.

So, I don't know CYA, but the total alkalinity test I did shows about 130, PH about 7.4, Chlorine - who knows - kit goes from .6 to 3.0 and it doesn't match any of those, but is a medium deep yellow with the 5 drop kit. I tried diluting it with bottled (not distilled) water but it didn't work so well.

I will post tomorrow with the readings I obtain from the new test kit, if I can figure out how to work it.
Can someone tell me if it will be safe to swim on July 4th (we actually did get in it last Sunday, but I didn't have a good feeling about it cuz it's so cloudy). Is there anything else I can do to clear it up? I run the filter 24/7 for about 2 weeks, I think.

Thanks!
 

257WbyMag

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
5,061
Denton, TX
Welcome to TFP!

Until you get your test kit, it's pretty tough to say what you need to do next. What I would suggest for now is that you don't add any more algaecide or clarifiers.

What are the bags of shock that you have been adding? Are they calcium hypochlorite or dichlor?

I'm not sure if you will be swim-ready on Independence Day. Just depends on what else you need to do. When you get you test kit, one of the most important tests will be the CYA test. This will tell you how much chlorine you need to shock and sanitize.

Have you started reading Pool School yet? It's the big button at the top right side of erach page here at TFP.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,941
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Have you found Jimmy Hoffa?

I'm happy you stopped dumping powdered shock in - you're just driving the calcium up, which can contribute to cloudiness.

Just be patient another day until you get the test kit. Keep running that filter and brushing. Get yourself a cup - something with a pour spout is handy. Get sample from pool. Carry it over to table where test kit is waiting. Have beverage at hand, but not next to pool water sample! :puker:

Test pH first. Have a white background - like a sheet of paper or some of that plastic patio furniture - and match the color. It will seldom be exact. Just guess if it looks more pink or more orange. +/- .1 is close enough. Concrete is not white enough, it will affect the readings. Neither is the sky. Write the number down.

Then break out the chlorine-only vial, the powder, the spoon, and the R-00871. It will turn Barbie Pink. It will probably turn clear fast. Then add the R-003. It will probably turn pink again. then do the drops of 871. Write these numbers down!

You can do the rest of the tests in any order. I like to mix the CYA solution then let it sit a little while I do the other tests, then shake it some more just before taking a reading. It reads more accurate if it's warm. Probably not a problem this time of year, but I started around January...

The directions are in the lid of the test kit. If TA or CH tests don't seem to be working right, use the directions for high levels. They're where step 6 should be.

Post if you run into difficulties. And be sure to post results!
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,363
East Texas
Backwash that filter a little bit every few hours between now and the 4th. Cloudiness won't kill ya' if your chlorine level checks to be good and an overnite chlorine drop test proves favorable. Good luck.
 

4tumbleweeds

Member
Mar 14, 2010
13
Richard, thanks for the hint of having a white sheet of paper for background when testing PH. I will try that. Never did like matching colors. LoL
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
Thanks much for your replies.
I think I put 2 or 3 boxes (each box has 5 packages) of "Shock Plus" 4-in-1 by PoolTime that I bought at Home Depot. I got this off the MSDS sheet posted on HD website:
Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione 2893-78-9 63.05 %
Inorganic salt < 25 %
Trade Secret 001 < 10 %
Trade Secret 016 < 5 %
Proprietary additive 123 < 5 %
COPPER CITRATE 10402-15-0 < 1 %

I also put a 2.5 lb bottle of some other shock, and at least one box (5 packs) of a different shock, I think it was Dichlor. Plus probably 15 gallons or more bleach.

Yeah, I know. I've already got the Jimmy Hoffa idea from my brother-in-law. Along with stocking with fish, and even dumping my Christmas tree in there for them to nest in. My nephew doesn't think we'll ever see the bottom. Most everyone else says I need to hire a pool company to come out and "fix" it. I'm hoping I can prove them all wrong before I break down and hire someone. I think I've come a long way and it just seems like it's close, but I don't know.
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
OK - I got my Chemistry for you, using the TF100 kit. Anyone not sure what to buy, or shopping around, just go ahead and get this - it's awesome. Plain, simple instruction - and everything worked perfectly...

I put in about 1.5 gal bleach last night, and this morning, sun beamed all day, and just did the lab work. There might be some chlorine tabs left in the Sanitizer that I had already bought (can I use the rest of them to raise my PH? and raise CYA?)

Here's where I am.
PH = 7.2
FC = 5.5
CC = .50 (or less - 1 drop)
TA = 100
CH = 300 - 400 (accidentally squeezed off 2 drops)
CYA = less than 20

I couldn't believe it after flying blind for (4) weeks, removing all the slime and dead fleshy stuff...
Can we Swim Sunday?

How do I get it clear? The filter was only up maybe 1 psi today.

Thanks!
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,177
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
J_L_D said:
OK - I got my Chemistry for you, using the TF100 kit. Anyone not sure what to buy, or shopping around, just go ahead and get this - it's awesome. Plain, simple instruction - and everything worked perfectly...

I put in about 1.5 gal bleach last night, and this morning, sun beamed all day, and just did the lab work. There might be some chlorine tabs left in the Sanitizer that I had already bought (can I use the rest of them to raise my PH? and raise CYA?)

Here's where I am.
PH = 7.2
FC = 5.5
CC = .50 (or less - 1 drop)
TA = 100
CH = 300 - 400 (accidentally squeezed off 2 drops)
CYA = less than 20

I couldn't believe it after flying blind for (4) weeks, removing all the slime and dead fleshy stuff...
Can we Swim Sunday?

How do I get it clear? The filter was only up maybe 1 psi today.

Thanks!
Focus for the next 24 hours on hitting it hard with chlorine. Test it hourly if you can, keeping your FC up to 12. So every hour test it, if you aren't at 12 add enough bleach to reach 12. Test an hour later, repeat the process. Hold it at 12 and then do an overnight Test on Saturday night. If the FC holds overnight you are done shocking.

It can take a while to clear up cloudiness once you are done shocking but without having performed the overnight loss test we don't know if you are done shocking or not.

The one risk with swimming in cloudy water, is if the visibility were poor and a person were on the bottom of the pool drowning would you be able to see them...?

The PH is not so low that it's a critical issue, but tablets lower PH not raise it. They do raise CYA though. If you want to raise PH you should use Borax, found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store.
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Ok, a couple of questions how confident are you in your test results, the standard CH test is 10 ppm per drop so 300-400 would be 30 to 40 drops?

Also a few details that my help us help you fine tune things as you get closer, what type of pool construction do you have, concrete, plaster, fiber glass, etc? And what part of the country are you in (it may help knowing about sun levels, rain levels, and general type of water)

Now back to the details, it sounds to me like you are getting close, I am concerned about the low CYA given all the dichlor you added (should be much higher) , it is either getting consumed or flushed out.

To get an idea of how close you are to being done I would add enough bleach to bring your FC up to 8.5 (shock level for a CYA of 20) and see how much it drops over night tonight (dark at night until dark in the morning) that will be the big test of seeing if your done shocking. If it drops more than 1 ppm keep it above 8.5 ppm testing every couple of hours and retry the loss test Saturday night.

Ike
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

OK, I've got so much going on with trying to get house and pool ready for 4th party ... but pool is high priority...

Guru with question about CH - SO RIGHT - I did 20 drops #10, 5 drops #11 and turned violet, added 3-4 drops #12 and was clearly blue - so 30-40, right? is that bad?

I'll go dump more bleach and check then see if FC holds tomorrow... I kinda think it's all dead cuz I've been cutting back and it's still 5.5 FC and almost nil CC...

will post more results....

I used to be a lifeguard and think I could watch out for accidents... is that the only issue? (Is there a chemistry concern?

At 5.5 FC I think I can add 1.5 gal and be near shock with less than 20 CYA, no?

Thanks again to everyone... The pool is pretty blue... just NOT CLEAR.
Must have lots of dead enemies still remaining...
 

dremin2flyhi

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2010
121
Darlington, SC
seen you said it was a foreclosed property and been neglected for what sounds like a good while--might be worth while to change the media of your filter--be it Sand, DE or Cartridge filters. Sounds you like you are really close..
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
dremin2flyhi said:
seen you said it was a foreclosed property and been neglected for what sounds like a good while--might be worth while to change the media of your filter--be it Sand, DE or Cartridge filters. Sounds you like you are really close..
he did :lol: ...after getting rid of Jimmy
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Correct CH level depends on type of pool you have, low CH will leach Calcium out of concrete and plaster

Ike

p.s. Yes, according to the pool calculator 1.5 gallons will put you near your shock level goal, you might want to put a little more, but not much to make sure your into shock range maybe 1.75 gal which should bring your FC to 9.5 if you have no overnight loss and sunshine on Saturday that should still drop well below shock level for Sunday.

You may want to buy some polymer based clarifier to speed the clearing of the water, I feel the stuff is often a waste of money, but in this case it could speed things along. You can get it at Lowes, etc. I think it is $10 - $15 for a quart size bottle
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
OK. I checked again after adding about 1.5 gal bleach....

FC = 8.5
CC = 1.0

I'll check again in morning?

Everthing else is OK?

It's SO CLOUDY.. but you should have seen it a month ago !!!
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
I just did the drop test again.

FC = 9.5 ( 19 drops)
CC = <.50 (it was only slightly pink and 1 drop cleared it quickly)

Could some pucks still be in chlorinator to raise it from 8.5 last night to 9.5?

Either way - 2 questions:

When can we swim - (how do I get the Clorine down and maintain it)
What about the CLOUDY WATER - It's killing me - it "could" be so pretty if it would just clear up.

THANK YOU !!!!
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
I suspect you are done shocking, and it should be safe to swim, if it were mine I would swim in it tomorrow and then raise it back to shock level and do a careful overnight drop test again.

If that is the way you want to go, stop adding any form of Chlorine today, no bleach, no pucks, etc. (until your FC gets to normal swim range)

If you want to rush clearing the water go buy some polymer based clarifier (for best results I have read you it should be pre-diluted in water, you can use one of those empty gallon jugs, dilute about 4 to 1 and shake, then broadcast over large area), repeat as needed, suggested standard dosing is around 1/3 of a quart for a pool your size (some people use it very liberally, if it were me and I was in a rush I would buy a couple of quarts and dose it every 2-3 hours backwashing as needed to clear the sand filter)

Another option is adding some DE filter compound to your sand filter, search on the forum for instructions (it involves adding a scoop or two of DE to your sand filter to make it catch more junk) , DE is usually sold in 20 pound boxes.

I suspect you could do both, just keep an eye on the filter it may need backwashing frequently

Ike
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
AWESOME, IKE!

I'll go make sure there are no pucks left in the Sanitizer...
I have some of that clarifier stuff left over...might try that...I thought I'd have to vacuum and I really don't have time to fool with that if my payment to the electric company for running the pump 3 weeks straight will sort it out...

About the DE...one thing I never mentioned...and it seemed to help...I had previously read about the DE trick and went to HD to get some, but while there bought some Cellulose Fiber, in lieu of the DE...it even had instructions on the back for how much to use based on Sand Filter size.... I did two doses and definitely had to backwash the next day... I still have maybe half a dose left...maybe I could dump that in the skimmer and dilute the clarifier and put it out and watch my filter pressure??? I'll be here all day today and tomorrow.

ps... I can actually (barely) make out the line in the floor where the deep end starts !!!!
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
J_L_D said:
I'll go make sure there are no pucks left in the Sanitizer...
If there are any, then you have not passed the overnight test and need to keep shocking.

ps... I can actually (barely) make out the line in the floor where the deep end starts !!!!
So, no kids in the pool if you can't see them on the bottom of the deep end?
 

J_L_D

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
39
Madison, MS
I pulled the pucks (not much left) this morning... added nothing all day... Sun beamed hard all day on my pool with no shade...
Just did another drop test... 2.0 FC, and CC is almost nothing...It didn't turn pink at all with the drops, just barely not clear so I added the other drop and instantly clear...

So here is what I need help with...
1. Must be able to swim tomorrow
2. I need to add some chlorine, right? Can't let it drop more down to 0 right? It's at 2 now with practilly nothing for CC.

THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Still cloudy but better. I went ahead and put that cellulose fiber stuff in the skimmer and if it works like before my psi will be up tomorrow on my filter...

By the Way.... I need to change my sig but couple gurus have mentioned construction... IT IS A VINYL LINER POOL... 18 X 36 'Mountain Lake" (or so I'm told). Has diving board and most of the pool is the deep end, so to speak.
 
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