Just moved, have pool, need HELP!

glitter_girl

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2010
56
Chicago, IL
Hello there!

My husband and I just moved and we got a 27 foot above ground pool as a nice, big, happy BONUS! :)

I grew up with an above ground pool, but I was just a kid/bratty teen so it's not like I paid any attention to what my parents did or didn't do to take care of the pool (aside from vacuuming).

Anyway, the past owner of the house offered to come help us open up the pool for the first time and just kind of give us some starter tips and all that. He gave my husband a list of necessary chemicals and supplies that will be needed to open and maintain the pool for the season. Some things seemed kind of odd.

I would love it if you could take a look at what his suggestions/advice is and to please steer us on the correct course.


1 case of Shock & Swim
He usually bought it by the case
Price is usually about $3/4 per pund
Maybe 12 per case
He said he shocks it 1 or 2 times per week

Mineral Reserve
Once per year
Goes into the frog
Price is about $80

Chlorine tabs
One every 3 weeks or so
He usually bought about 6 at a time
Goes into the frog
Price is about $18 each

Meratic Acid
Used to "slug" the pool
He usually bought two gallons
Once per year
Price is about $3/4 per gallon

Pools testers
Uses every few days to make sure your stuff is in balance
Price is unknown

He suggested possibly buying a water vaccum instead of using hte pump because it can be sort of hard on the motor (i.e. Dirt Devil)
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,403
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Muriatic acid, okay.
Test Kit, absolutely.

The rest of the stuff is just for lining the pockets of the pool store owner. Tablets are handy, but can lead to buildup of calcium and CYA. You don't want that. Shock (the product, not the process) is unnecessary if you keep the pool balanced. You don't need all the mineral crapola. Period. The vacuum, I don't know.

I've been tempted to buy one to use as a carpet sweeper, sort of, rather than a full vacuum. For times when there's just a couple things down at the bottom, hardly worth wrestling the hose out and filling it. But I searched here and the reviews were mixed. I was hoping to find all glowing.

Your questions can be mostly answered by reading Pool School
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
I personally like Shock & Swim, but I have to deal with an indoor pool that takes forever for chlorine levels to drop from a chlorine shock, it just depends on how long you mind your pool being closed waiting for the shock level to fall (I shocked with chlorine weekend before last and have not needed to add any chlorine since, FC is still above the ideal point).

Ike
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
10,966
Houston, Texas
Buy yourself a good quality test kit, not strips! The Taylor K2006 or the TF100 will have every test you need. The TF 100 is a better value for the money. You can research TF100 here. Go ahead and take a sample to be tested at the local pool store and post the results here. We can then advise you if you need to do anything to the water right away. We need test results for FC (free chlorine), CC (combined chlorine) pH, TA (total alkalinity), CH (calcium hardness), and CYA (cyuranic acid, also known as stabilizer or conditioner). DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THE POOL STORE! Talk to us first! We will save you some money and get your pool looking great! If you do get talked into buying from the pool store, make sure it is returnable if unopened. There are affordable alternatives to chlorine, pH up/down, and other pool chems.

I am assuming you have not opened the pool yet. How does the water look? Clear? Cloudy? Green? Also, if you go to the top left corner of this page you will find the button for "user control pannel" just under the TFP logo. Click on it and go to the signature function to add details about your pool to your signature. Please list pool type and size, filter type, brand, and size, pump brand and size and any other details you may want to add. This will help us advise you how to care for your pool. Good luck and welcome to TFP!
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
To follow up on that if you get talked into buying something idea, buy stabilizer as it is one of the few things that must be bought as a pool chemical as opposed to things like bleach that can be used instead of chlorine tablets (and is better in many ways). Just remember it is one of those things that a little goes a long way. Then only buy if your CYA level is below 40.

Ike
 

glitter_girl

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2010
56
Chicago, IL
Thank you for all your help everyone!

We are headed to the pool store with a water sample to get tested (the water sample we have actually looks pretty clear). However, with that being said, we still don't have the winter cover off yet, so I can't say if it is green or cloudy overall).

We plan to buy shock when there and after talking with my husband, I think for the first year we are going to do the Chlorine tabs, but we are eliminating the FROG system, since we have heard lots against it.

I will be back to let you know the numbers! Thank you for ALL your help!
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
10,966
Houston, Texas
You must find out what your CYA level is before buying the shock! If you buy a shock product with CYA in it and your CYA is already too high, (in your case over 50ppm is too high) you will be wasting time and money. If your CYA is between 30 and 50, and you feel you must buy a powdered shock product, buy a calcium hypochlorite or lithium chlorite based shock. Those do not have CYA (aka stabilizer) added. Calcium hypochlorite adds calcium, and lithium chlorite is expensive. If they have liquid chlorine that would be best. Same thing with the chlorine tabs, dichlore or trichlore tabs add CYA, calcium hypochlorite tabs add calcium.

If you talk to the pool store guy about the advice you have gotten on this forum and he tells you we don't know what we are talking about, ask him if he owns a pool and how he maintains it. Ask how much he spends a year on chemicals. If regular water drain and refill is part of his regimen, then I would not take his advice. The vast majority of posters here have years of pool ownership under their belts. This is my 5th year with my pool and for 3 years I struggled with keeping it clear and balanced. Since I found TFP, the only times I have had water quality problems is when I got lazy and let the FC get too low for too long. :hammer: I knew I was messing up but I did it anyway. :hammer: :hammer: I am a world class procrastinator!
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,519
Sebring, Florida
Check with poolgirl22 before you buy those tabs......you will find they will put too much CYA in your water. Pool School will help you get a better grasp of maintaining your pool.
 

poolgirl22

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2010
595
Stephens City, VA
poolgirl22 says no to tablets. :mrgreen:

Especially if we don't know what the stabilizer (CYA) level is. Additionally there's some tablets that have copper in them...and I don't want Glitter Girl's beautiful locks turning green...
Tablets worked great for me until about mid July every year. The from late July to closing I was always fighting something. The reason is that I had CYA added in the beginning of the year. Then I used the tablets in chlorinator running at full speed.. my chlorinator held EIGHT tablets and I filled it every other week. I know my CYA was well over 100 by mid season and still the folks at the pool store said it was 'fine'...but they never told me that I needed ridiculous amounts of FC at that high of CYA.

I am sitting at CYA 55 this year. I wish it was closer to 40 and next year it will be. Because shocking stinks at a higher level.

:wave:
 

poolgirl22

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2010
595
Stephens City, VA
zea3 said:
You must find out what your CYA level is before buying the shock! If you buy a shock product with CYA in it and your CYA is already too high, (in your case over 50ppm is too high) you will be wasting time and money. If your CYA is between 30 and 50, and you feel you must buy a powdered shock product, buy a calcium hypochlorite or lithium chlorite based shock. Those do not have CYA (aka stabilizer) added. Calcium hypochlorite adds calcium, and lithium chlorite is expensive. If they have liquid chlorine that would be best. Same thing with the chlorine tabs, dichlore or trichlore tabs add CYA, calcium hypochlorite tabs add calcium.

If you talk to the pool store guy about the advice you have gotten on this forum and he tells you we don't know what we are talking about, ask him if he owns a pool and how he maintains it. Ask how much he spends a year on chemicals. If regular water drain and refill is part of his regimen, then I would not take his advice. The vast majority of posters here have years of pool ownership under their belts. This is my 5th year with my pool and for 3 years I struggled with keeping it clear and balanced. Since I found TFP, the only times I have had water quality problems is when I got lazy and let the FC get too low for too long. :hammer: I knew I was messing up but I did it anyway. :hammer: :hammer: I am a world class procrastinator!
What ^ said.
 

glitter_girl

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2010
56
Chicago, IL
Ok, so I just got back from the pool store. The guy we talked to was informative and nice. NO pushing products on us.

We got some liquid chlorine to shock it. They tested our water, but unfortunately they were out of their test kits, so they used one of the strips. GRRR! Anyway, our water, as it is right now, he said actually looks good. Obviously we need to fill the pool up and re-test, but as it stands right now it looks ok.

I will check back again after pool is filled and has been running for a bit to follow the next steps.

We also bought a small bucket of chlorine tabs, but that is only because we just don't know enough about the other system (BBB) and I want to do more research on it and read up on things. Please don't be mad. :)

This is the only available opportunity we have to open the pool for like the next 4 weekends, so we had to do it.

I am hoping that after a month or whatever, and when the test kit arrives, that I can then switch over to being what you call a "Jug Dumper". Please tell me that is acceptable to do, switching at a later date?
 

glitter_girl

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2010
56
Chicago, IL
One more question...if the CYA level is so important then how come the Pool Stores and tester strips don't mention it at all?

Just trying to learn and understand all the stuff. :)

It seems like around here the CYA level is so important, and it just sucks that we don't have a kit to tell us that number, and probably won't by the time the pool fills and we need to start adding the chemicals and stuff.


PS - we just got the cover off. It's a tad bit green, but not too bad. There is a yellow stain around the whole pool where the water level is sitting at right now (is that the kind of staining you all were referring to?)

We are currently filling it. Gonna be a couple hours.
 

poolgirl22

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2010
595
Stephens City, VA
We covered some of this on our facebook chat, but I will repeat here and add some things for continuity of the thread. You never know who is reading and learning so I want to make sure everyone gets the same info. My responses in purple, of course! :wink:

glitter_girl said:
Ok, so I just got back from the pool store. The guy we talked to was informative and nice. NO pushing products on us.

We got some liquid chlorine to shock it. Good. This is 10% sodium hypochlorite, where bleach is 6% of same chemical. Use the pool calculator linked in my signature to determine how much of what to add. Do you have Rural King by you? I just scored cases of 4 gallons of liquid chlorine for 11.99. They tested our water, but unfortunately they were out of their test kits, so they used one of the strips. GRRR! Anyway, our water, as it is right now, he said actually looks good. Going forward, get the specific numbers they give you to post back here 'looks good' can cover sooooo much that may or may not be good. Since this was non circulating water, it's irrelevant anyway. And the strips are tough to read and lots of room for error. So whatever tests you get done or do yourself, repost the specific numbers. Obviously we need to fill the pool up and re-test, but as it stands right now it looks ok. yep. once it's circulated a few hours get it tested again and post the numbers.

I will check back again after pool is filled and has been running for a bit to follow the next steps.

We also bought a small bucket of chlorine tabs, but that is only because we just don't know enough about the other system (BBB) and I want to do more research on it and read up on things. Please don't be mad. :) No one gets mad around here. We have all been where you are. There are no stupid questions or any such thing as too much information. Occasionally we do get kind of forceful about those pucks, lol. But, as I told you in our chat, pucks have their place but it depends on your current numbers what that place is. Many people use pucks at startup to slowly add CYA until they reach the desired target, then switch to liquid. You just have to understand what you are doing and test to control the CYA getting too high. You are on the right track with the liquid shock though, because many shock products contain more CYA and Calcium. Stick with the liquid for shocking. Additionally, watch the pucks that they don't contain copper as that will turn your hair green. I know we already discussed that yours are just strait trichlor (shudder...) :wink:

This is the only available opportunity we have to open the pool for like the next 4 weekends, so we had to do it.Good thing, but don't think your job ends today. Remember the newborn? Yah, it's kinda like that. We're here to help you every step of the way

I am hoping that after a month or whatever, and when the test kit arrives, if you've ordered it, you should get it next week sometime.Once you receive it, you won't ever have to go to the store to get tested again. You will trust your numbers explicitly. that I can then switch over to being what you call a "Jug Dumper". Please tell me that is acceptable to do, switching at a later date? As long as you are careful and don't let that CYA get too high I think it's workable. But we won't know for sure until we get reliable test numbers.
If I've left anything out that we discussed...feel free to post back.
And if I've missed anything the mods will correct me. :wave:
Oh, and you have to thank member svenpup for the Jug Dumper term. Cracked me up when he said it, that I added it to my sig. Feel free to steal it, but not till you chuck the pucks. :mrgreen:
 

poolgirl22

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2010
595
Stephens City, VA
glitter_girl said:
One more question...if the CYA level is so important then how come the Pool Stores and tester strips don't mention it at all?

Just trying to learn and understand all the stuff. :)

It seems like around here the CYA level is so important, and it just sucks that we don't have a kit to tell us that number, and probably won't by the time the pool fills and we need to start adding the chemicals and stuff.


PS - we just got the cover off. It's a tad bit green, but not too bad. There is a yellow stain around the whole pool where the water level is sitting at right now (is that the kind of staining you all were referring to?)

We are currently filling it. Gonna be a couple hours.
Because basically, they haven't kept up with the research. And they are in the business to sell chemicals. The chemical companies they represent train them to sell chems, not knowledge. The vast majority of people in the industry simply don't understand that CYA levels drastically affect the amount of FC you need to have in order to properly sanitize the pool. Also, the standard recipe around here is FC 1-3ppm and add clarifiers and algaecides to ward off cloudiness and algae. In actuality, higher FC levels appropriate to your CYA will do the job of keeping cloudiness and algae at bay. And shocking once a week...if you keep that FC right in the first place, you don't need all that other stuff. And you wont smell chlorine and you won't have stinging eyes and irritated skin. Chem Geek is the resident technical guy so search some of his posts for more info.

The pool store should be able to test for CYA in some way. The results may or may not be true, but they should test for it. That's why you need a written record of what they term 'looks good'.

Oh, feel free to take pics and post them. We loooooovvvveeee pictures cuz they show progress and one person's clear is another person's swamp..
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
Ok, just a couple of things here, for one thing a high CYA level is good for the pool store, it causes the pool owner to have to buy more chlorine and more shock to do the same amount of cleaning power, and the only way to get rid of it is to drain and refill. When you use a tablet based chlorine you are assured of getting too high of CYA level sooner or later, the people that make the chemicals know this, but again, it is good for them, as it lets them sell more product to do the same amount of effective cleaning.

Now let me ask this, if you were to go to the doctor for a check up (and if doctors were an unregulated industry), you go in the door and get a good professional looking first impression, with a nice waiting area, and receptionist, you see fancy certificates on the wall that says this person and that person has been certified for this and that. You see the doctor and he says first off lets do some tests, and hands off your sample to a part time summer teenage lab technician. You wait a fee minutes while the doctor talks to you about your lifestyle, and suggest changes you might make to it with the addition of some things he has for sale that he can show you while you are waiting. Then a few minutes later the lab technician comes back with the results for the doctor, then the doctor mumbles about this level and that one and writes you us a prescription, to take this much of this and that much of that, and tells you the same teenager that handle the test could ring you up at the cash register. You don't know any better, so you blindly buy what the doctor told you to buy and plan to take it no questions asked, and come back with another sample in a few days like they told you.

Then you find yourself talking friend that you know also has swimingpoolitis and has suffered from it for years, they ask What was your FC / CC levels, you say I don't know I just know the doctor said take this much everyday. They then ask about how you feel, do your eyes burn after you swim, do you smell chlorine, etc, you tell them yes, and they go ahead to explain this is because the doctor has the dosages all messed up, the invite you to look at their pool and see for yourself, you then start thinking about all those fancy certificates, and professional looking lab set up.

If you think it is not fair comparing a swimming pool to your health, think again, an unhealthy pool is UNHEALTHY, you can get all sorts of things growing in them if you don't have your chemical levels right, and just adding more chlorine is not a fix, even if it were do you want to swim in a pool that causes everyones hair to turn blonde?


Ike
 

NCFlyersFan

LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2008
116
NE North Carolina
Hello glitter_girl and welcome to TFP! :wave:

ALL pool store folks seem nice...they are more than happy to take your money. Customer service after all....

Go to pool school! You can become a BBB user after about 2 hours of reading. And, with all the experts here, you will have any questions answered that you have after reading.

CYA is important because it "stabilizes" the chlorine and prevents free chlorine loss due to direct sunlight. So, you need CYA to help maintain free chlorine levels in your pool water. That being said, most pools will loose about 2 ppm or so of chlorine daily due to sunlight.

Using CYA, though, does have some inherent problems. Meaning, the higher the CYA level in your pool, the higher the chlorine levels required to maintain your water sanitized, and the higher the level of free chlorine required to shock (the process NOT the product) your pool. Most people who use liquid bleach or liquid shock (the product, 12% sodium hypochlorite) as their source of chlorine maintain CYA about 40. The recommended free chlorine level at this level of CYA is 5 ppm. This provides the necessary balance between helping maintain free chlorine in your pool water and not having to have excessively high free chlorine levels to maintain the water sanitary.

So, let's talk about the pucks you are adding to the pool. For each ppm free chlorine the puck contains, it also contains .6 ppm CYA. Thus, as you add chlorine using the pucks, you are also adding CYA. While initially not a problem, over time the CYA builds up in the pool. As the CYA builds up, you need higher levels of free chlorine to maintain the water sanitized. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this, and it is not uncommon to see CYA levels in excess of 100 by the end of the season. At this level of CYA, you need to maintain a free chlorine level of 12 ppm. Unfortunately, most people don't know this, pool stores either don't know or won't tell, and the end result is algae and other water clarity issues. In the end, you sorta feel like this :hammer: as the pool store is selling you more and more products to clear up your pool, many of which continue to elevate CYA, making the problems worse....

That is why we consider the CYA levels so important here. In order to maintain healthy, clear, and properly sanitized water, you HAVE to know the CYA level.

We also consider ACCURATE water testing to be critical to your pool success. Pool stores are notorious for poor, inaccurate test results. Leslie's K-2006 or duraleigh's TF-100 are the standards. Anything less and you will be selling yourself short.

IMHO - become a puck chucking jug dumper ASAP :party: (save the pucks for occasional use when on vacation, if you need a small CYA boost, etc). You will be much happier in the end.

Once again, welcome to the best pool site on the 'net.
 

glitter_girl

Well-known member
Jun 4, 2010
56
Chicago, IL
Thank you for all the info regarding CYA, I am starting to understand its importance and why it needs to be maintained and why the test kit is important.


Here is the update on my pool:

It has been filled and the pump/filter has been running for a couple hours.

I just did a test strip (it's all I have right now) and even our pool store doesn't have their accurate system available so they are using the test strips as well. Here is what I can tell you:

pH - 7.2 - 7.8

FC - 0 - 0.5

TA - 180 - 240 (closer to the 240 color)

Stabilizer - 30 - 50


Can anyone give me the next step? We still need to vacuum (but major storms so that is out for today). Will vacuuming even help?

PS - I will also try to read up on BBB as much as I can. We literally just moved and I have to concentrate on getting the house liveable before anything else (but trust me that big ol' pool is just taunting me daily. :)

I have faith and confidence in this site and all you Pool Pros that you can help us get our pool on track! You have all be so awesome already!
 

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