Just getting started, here's my plan, am I doing the right thing?

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
We just moved into a house with a pool a couple of weeks ago. I am still learning terminology, so if anything is wrong, please feel free to correct me.
I believe the pool setup/specs are:
  • cartridge filter
  • multi-speed pump
  • waterfall
  • ~15,000 gallons.
The pump is on a daily automated schedule where it runs high speed for 45 min in the morning, low speed for 8 hours, then high speed for 45 min again in the afternoon.

When we arrived at the house, there was some remnant of previous owner (PO) test equipment, and an initial limited test found:
FC: 0
CYA: >>>100 (maybe around 200?).
I believe the previous owner primarily used stabilized pucks to chlorinate the water and it has not been drained for 1.5 years, so that probably makes sense. The water was starting to get pretty green by the time we moved in (house was unoccupied for a couple of weeks while we had some work done). I went ahead and ordered the Taylor K-2006C test kit.

In the mean-time, we used a very low speed submersible pump to start draining/refill to lower the CYA levels. Because the pool-pump schedule is automated, I turned off power to it at the breaker box while draining. Because we just moved in, we started draining at very low speed to see what our sewer clean can handle. It took about 3-4 days to lower the to about 1/2 filled. We filled it back full yesterday and got the following test results:
FC: 0
TA: 180
CYA: 100
PH: 8.4? (a little above what the scale read, this is an estimate)
CH: 420
The CYA has come down since our initial move-in test, but, we are now starting with another half drain/refill to hopefully reach a more reasonable number.

While this has been ongoing over the course of a couple weeks now, the water is VERY green now. I have not been adding chemicals for the last week or two, knowing we would be draining and refilling.
My nominal plan is
  1. Refill
  2. Run pool-pump at high speed for a few hours (with how green the water is, do I need to get a new filter right away?)
  3. Take CYA levels -> if within reason, proceed. If not, partial drain/refill again
  4. Take PH, add muriatic acid to bring down to ~7.5
  5. Start SLAM
Any tips or suggestions?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: You've been doing your TFP research, so that' great. You have the right idea. Get that CYA down first. That's a must. Then you can lower the pH to 7.2 and begin the SLAM Process with your K-2006C. Don't worry about the green right now. The SLAM Process will take care of that. No need to run the pump on high right now either. The green isn't going anywhere. Ha.
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
We have drained and refilled our pool, but now I'm stuck trying to get the pool pump primed. The previous owners have a fancy Polaris automated system, but I don't know where any of the lines go. Here is a picture:
IMG_20200723_115424.jpg
We've had the breaker box off to this system for about a week now. Here are the steps I tried:
  1. Release the relief valve at the top of the filter (this was already reading 0)
  2. Fill the pump basket (green) with water to the top, close the lid
  3. Try to run the pump (takes about 30s to turn on when I press the button on the Polaris controller)
However, when I fill the pump basket above the pipe in red, it will always drain to the level of the red pipe before the pump even turns on. When the pump turns on, the water drains to nearly the bottom of the basket. I got worried about damaging the pump, so I haven't left it running like that for longer than ~60s.

What else do I need to do to get the pump running again? Do I just need to try waiting longer? Do I just need to hose fill the green basket LONGER until it no longer drains through red pipe?
Part of me thinks I just need to wait longer, because I'm not sure that having the pool half drained for a week with the power off should have changed anything about how this system operates as a closed loop.
 
Last edited:

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,643
Houston, Texas
I would run the pump about 60 seconds at most, but you may have to stop and re-prime several times before it finally catches.
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
Yes, we do have a spa. I am not enabling the "Spa" via the Polaris controller during this exercise for what that is worth.

IMG_20200725_082526.jpg

I've now tried re-priming 4-5 times with no luck so far (I think?) I still haven't ever let it run for longer than ~1:15.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,057
Laughlin, NV
Check the skimmer. How many holes in the bottom? If two, one ties to the main drain and one to the suction side of the pump. Stick a hose in the one to the pump (should be the one farthest from the pool water side). Turn on the hose full blast and prime the pump.
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
The skimmer does have two holes on the bottom. We tried sticking a hose in and running it full blast and tried priming another couple times. No luck.
  • Should I expect that the water level in the pump basket doesn't rise above the red pipe when I fill it with water? That is normal?
  • Does the fact that power has been off for only a week change anything regarding process?
 

Bigpaws

Active member
Mar 29, 2020
40
Wilkes-Barre Pa
The purpose of using the hose at the skimmer is to push water into the pump
so that it primes. Do you know if the pump is above or below the water level
in the pool? When using the hose you could use a towel or something the keep
that water going only to the pump. If there is no water going into the pump
try using the other hole in the skimmer.

-Bigpaws
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
The pump is above the water level of the pool. The ground seems relatively level and the pump is above ground, so it is probably 6" to a 1' above? I guess that makes sense why the hose in the skimmer did nothing as I tried it -> it would have just been going back into increasing the pool water level.

I guess the next step is trying to form a seal around the hose to push water into the pump (I'm assuming I should see water pouring into the basket).

Should I expect that when I fill the pump suction side basket with water, that the water level eventually stays high? Or do I expect that it will always drain down the pipe in red?
 
Last edited:

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
BB, for what it's worth, in the bottom of the skimmer, the hole closest to the equipment pad should be the return skimmer line, while the one facing inside to the pool should be for the drain. But if you're not seeing any water getting pushed by the hose trick to the pump basket, that's odd. Have you tried pushing water the other way as a test? From the pump inlet back to the skimmer? Just to ensure there is no partial clog? In addition, you could try enabling the spa suction only and see if it primes any better. If it does, then you know something is blocking the pool suction line or there is an air leak in that line.

If there is no prime from either line (pool or spa), a couple other things stand out to me. Water draining out when you turn the system off indicates an air leak, and it could be anywhere. Make sure the filter pressure gauge and/or air relief is good because that's a common area to let air in. You've already checked the pump clear lid o-ring and drain plugs for good lube right? Maybe also (with power OFF), remove that clear lid and feel down inside for the impeller to ensure it can spin okay and has nothing tangled around it.
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
I switched the suction side valve to to spa, and was able to get the pump running in that position!
I then turned it back to pool, and everything seems to be running now!

The pump inlet basket seems to have a little bubble of air inside at the top. By my understanding, this means there is likely a minor air leak somewhere? The filter pressure gauge says about 11 PSI, which seems a bit low. I have some replacement filters on order and was going to replace them after we get rid of a bunch of the algae.

Question regarding starting SLAM -> If the PH is around 8.0-8.2, do we need to drop that before we can start adding Chlorine to target FC levels?
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
Thank you all for your help!

I just re-tested CYA, and its now at ~70. Is this a reasonable level to begin SLAM (I know its probably a bit high, but not sure how big a problem that is)? Our loose plan is to only use liquid chlorine from here on out (rather than pucks, etc.)
 

brokenblinker

Bronze Supporter
Jul 23, 2020
26
San Jose, CA
Great! We lowered PH to 7.2 with acid, and just added our first batch of chlorine to hit SLAM targets.

In the SLAM article, it recommends cleaning the filter. I assume to do so, I need to turn the pump off again and relieve the system pressure. Are there likely to be pump priming issues again afterwards?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In the SLAM article, it recommends cleaning the filter. I assume to do so, I need to turn the pump off again and relieve the system pressure. Are there likely to be pump priming issues again afterwards?
Keep your fingers crossed perhaps? 😁 Let the pressure build by a good 25% before cleaning though. Then make note of your clean pressure once you start it back up so you know about when to clean it again. If it seems to struggle with the prime, you can use that trick like earlier where you toggle from spa back to pool mode.