New Empty Nesters buy house with a pool

Jun 1, 2019
5
North Carolina
Hello Everyone,

My husband and I became empty nesters last summer. We just bought a house on May 3 with an in ground pool and let me tell you....it has been a learning experience that has cost us a TON of money already, thanks to the pool store. I think we would have better off if we had just walked out to the deck and thrown a bucket of cash into the wind. When we first moved in, there were stains, or a huge stain, covering almost the entire liner. We were told it was organic stain. We dumped so much stuff in the pool, brushed vacuumed, backwashed, etc. Come to find out it was mineral so we dumped in some ascorbic acid...poof stains were gone! We had a clear beautiful pool. I decided to take a sample of water to the pool store, big mistake. We had a clear pool for all of two days!! We were told our phosphates were high (1000) and we should add in No Phos from Leslie's pool store. The next thing we know, it looks like someone poured milk into our pool and we haven't been able to clear it yet! We have a sand filter and we have done major backwashing where we have drained quite a bit of water each time and refilled MULTIPLE times (I am terrified of getting our water bill). We have shocked and used clarifier, turned the pump off so everything settles to the bottom and vacuumed repeatedly. It's so frustrating. :mad: So...this is what brought me here!

I have purchased the TF100 test kit and this what I know so far:

16x32 in ground pool with a vinyl liner and sand filter!

FC: 1
CC: 1
TC: 2???
CH: 125
PH: 7.2
TA: 220
CYA: 0 (I'm assuming zero because after adding the entire mixture to the tube, I could still see the black dot)

Well, I got a little sidetracked in introducing ourselves, I apologize. I am currently a homemaker and my husband is a retired Army combat engineer/paratrooper who is now a contractor working at Fort Bragg, NC. I think he'd prefer to blow it up and call it a day 😂
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,008
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Welcome. Great choice on the test kit and taking pool care into your own hands. I probably don't need to tell you this, but pool store testing and guidance can't be trusted. Reserve your pool store trips for floaties and toys. It sounds like you have MAY have algae and need to SLAM Process, but the cloudiness may be related to the chemicals used for your stain treatment. Read up on ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry in Pool School.

I'll give you a little bump to get some expert eyes on your post.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,227
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
When you mean Tons of chemicals can you name them? Usually when under the PoolStore umbrella, CH and CYA are most of the time sky high. Please try testing again and let us know what you have dumped in the pool so we can guide you better.
 
Jun 1, 2019
5
North Carolina
Good morning!!!

I will retest my water this afternoon to see if I can get different results. The thing about the pool store is we had done research before having the water tested so we didn't purchase everything they wanted us to buy. To clarify, I mentioned spending TONS of money, not necessarily adding tons of chemicals. And that's basically because we've basically done the following processes twice.

I know the previous owner did a lot to try to get rid of the stains. She had a gentleman come out to inspect the pool before we closed on the house and he's the one who said the stains were organic and recommended a strong, expensive algaecide. I don't know the steps of the process but I know she used algaecide, HTH shock, baking soda and one other thing I can't recall at the moment. After we moved in I did some research on algae because we were told that the stains were organic. I came across Yellow Gone but wanted to know how to use it so I did more research. I found a video from Leslie's Pool Supply explaining in detail how to get rid of algae. I don't know how to add the video here but basically it was a 36 hour process. Add Yellow Gone, wait 5 minutes then add shock, wait 12 hours add shock again, wait another 12 hours add shock again. wait until CL level is below 5ppm, then add Leslie's Clear aid. This did nothing for the yellow on the liner of the pool but I was fairly certain that if there was algae, it was gone lol.

A week later, we put a Vitamin C pill on the step to see if the stains were metal/mineral...that worked like MAGIC! We bought Ascorbic Acid and added it to the pool. We had to do it twice in order to get every nook and cranny but our pool was finally CRYSTAL CLEAR! Then we decided to listen to Leslie's and a couple of other online forums regarding phosphates. So after waiting a couple of days, we added Leslie's No Phos to take care of the high phosphate level (1000) and after a couple of hours it looked like someone had poured milk into the pool. We couldn't even see the steps on the ladder. I did some more research and found that we basically needed to do a partial drain to help fix the problem. We didn't do that but when we back wash our filter, we have emptied several gallons of water (lowered to the bottom of the skimmer) and then refilled. We've done this several times. It is not as cloudy as before but still not clear. We have done one treatment of HTH clarifier. I'm going to do another one today as it seemed to help a little bit.

With the exception of adding baking soda when needed, I think this covers everything we have added to the pool thus far. We have stabilizer but haven't added it. We're afraid to do much until we can figure out and fix the cloudy water.

Any thoughts, advice, suggestions, recommendations, and at this point, jokes, will be greatly appreciated!
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,227
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
The ascorbic test confirms its iron, i know yellow gone is not good for pools but someone else will chime in. The milky apperance is the phos free product, in time it will clear. Stop adding anything to your pool that is not liquid chlorine, muratic acid or CYA, thats it. You have the best test kit. Keep testing and level your chemicals to what the poolmath app says. Reread ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry. In time you will get the hang of it. Ill be waiting on your new numbers.
 
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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,779
Houston, Texas
Hi, welcome to TFP! Do you use well water to fill the pool? Although I think you said you were worried about a high water bill so maybe city water? Either way, take a sample of pool water and a sample of tap water to the pool store and ask them to test it for iron only. If you do have iron in your pool then you will need to add sequestrant to prevent the stains from coming back. If your source water is iron free then it would be best to treat for stains and then drain the pool and refill with fresh water. That would take care of the milkiness as well.

If you do not want to drain water, then you will need to complete the SLAM Process process to get rid of the milkiness and the CC you currently have. You will need to raise the CYA to 30ppm. You can use PoolMath to determine how much you need for your pool. Your FC level for the slam will be 12ppm once you have added the CYA. Until you add CYA target your FC 10ppm. For the 1st hour of the slam add enough FC to reach 10ppm, keep the pump running and test FC again in 15 min. If you FC is 5 or less add enough FC to reach 10ppm again. Continue this test/dose cycle until the FC reads 6 or more at the 15 minute test. At that point you can adjust the test/dose cycle to every 2 hours.

We will be happy to answer any questions you may have!
 
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Jun 1, 2019
5
North Carolina
Thank you for your suggestions! We have city water, not well water. The previous owner said this was the first time stains like this had happened in the 4 years they lived here so I'm not sure what that's about. Funny thing...we just received a request from the city for a water sample as they are testing everyone's water. I'm looking forward to their results as well.

We won't be using Yellow Gone or Yellow Out again. I am rather frugal so if we can take care of and maintain our pool with the BBB method and not have to purchase any expensive chemicals, I'll be in heaven.

New test results are:

FC: 3
CC: 3
CH: 125
TA: 200
PH: 7.5
CYA: 0

Now I have questions that may or may not make me sound like a complete idiot!

1. What CYA would you recommend using??
2. I need to add CYA to raise it to at least 30ppm BEFORE I begin the SLAM process, correct?
3. During the SLAM, when I test every 15 min, do I use the FAS-DPD test every time? Or do I just use this for the initial reading and then use the K-1000 kit for the rest?
4. Should I SLAM on a bright and sunny day or a cloudy day? Or does it matter?
5. I know that nobody can tell how much FC it's going to take to complete this process, but is there a good number to how many gallons of bleach I should purchase to start off? And will generic bleach work as well as Clorox?

I'm sure I have others, I just haven't thought of them yet :)
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
1,008
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
1. CYA is usually sold as Chlorine Stabilizer at the big-box stores. You can pick some up at HD, Lowes, Walmart etc. Last time I got mine at HD, $20 for 5 lbs. There's better deals out there, but that's a good benchmark.

2. Yes...bring CYA to 30 ppm

3. Use the FAS-DPD test for all. You can use a 10 ml sample to save on reagents. Once your FC begins to hold, you can dial back on the frequency of testing. During the SLAM, you only need to test FC and CC. The OTO test is best to use as a go no-go kind of test. It doesn't have the level of accuracy necessary for a SLAM or daily maintenance.

4. Doesn't matter...SLAM rain or shine.

5. Don't use Clorox or any other brand with fancy smells or easy-pour technology. Use only plain bleach. Big-box stores will usually carry 10% in the pool supply section. Just make sure you have plenty on hand.
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,413
Evans, Georgia
Have the pool store test for metals.

Don't use any Clorox bleach or bleach with polymers (Cloromax technology). Plain, unscented, non-thickened, bleach. Usually 6.xx% strength nowadays. Walmart sells 10% liquid chlorine in the pool section, which is a good choice.

No more algaecides, PhosFree products or any pool store potions from now on. ALL you'll need is bleach, muriatic acid at times. Occasionally you might need borax or baking soda but don't buy them until you need them, some never do.

Add as much CYA in a sock as PoolMath advises to get to 30ppm. The granular product can go in a sock, into your skimmer as long as it doesn't block the water flow entirely. Keep the pump running non-stop during a SLAM. PoolMath will tell you how much to use to get to 30ppm for your size pool.

That Yellow Gone product may chew up your chlorine at first... each time you add chlorine it will work to degrade any residual yellow gone product, so don't get discouraged. Keep adding bleach/Liquid Chlorine as often as your testing says the FC has dropped. Hourly re-testing and dosing is ideal at first, but if you can't manage that do it as often as possible. As your pool clears the chlorine will last longer and longer between tests.

Don't hesitate to ask questions as they arise. We're happy to help. Please also thank your husband for his service, and as a fellow USArmy retiree's wife, thank YOU for your support of him. :hug:

Maddie :flower:
 
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johntniman

Silver Supporter
Apr 21, 2018
141
Las Vegas
5. I know that nobody can tell how much FC it's going to take to complete this process, but is there a good number to how many gallons of bleach I should purchase to start off?
Just because this part didn't seem to be addressed yet: It depends on how much of a hassle getting bleach is. I'd start at around 10 gallons (whatever the % chlorine) - your pool is about twice the size of mine, but sounds like it's in better shape than mine was when SLAM started. If it's too little, you'll have a good idea how much to get the next time. If it's "too much" then whatever is left over can be used as needed for regular maintenance.

If getting bleach is a real hassle, and you have the storage space, 20 gallons of 10% is what I started SLAM with, and you'd just need to make one big trip.

Edit: A different way to think about it. It'll take almost 3 gallons of 10% bleach to get your FC from 1 to 12, assuming a CYA of 30 for a pool your size. So, whatever you start with, you're down 3 gallons to start, and then maintaining that amount depends on how much organic stuff the bleach has to kill. 10 gallons would last you a week if you need a gallon a day to maintain FC 12 (3 to start + 1 / day for 7 days) but it gets very speculative.
 
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Jun 1, 2019
5
North Carolina
Good morning!

We have had severe storms here since Friday night so I haven't been able to do much with my pool yet. However, I would like to clarify a couple of things.

1. When directions on a product state "with circulation pump running.....", does this actually mean to put it on circulation or does it mean to just have the pump/filter running?

2. When SLAMming, do you test every 15 min or every hour? There's been some conflicting advice.

3. I ended up buying liquid stabilizer instead of using the granules I already had. Approximately how long does this take to raise the CYA? And how long should I wait to start the SLAM process? I was planning on starting this weekend.

4. When using the K-1000 test kit, after inverting to mix, how long do you wait before getting the results? Ex: a test strip says to wait 15 seconds. I ask because my chlorine results get darker after 20-30 seconds so I'm curious as to which result is correct...the immediate result or the one after 30 seconds? (I won't be using this during the SLAM process, just need to know for general purposes)

5. I'd really just like to take a moment and thank all of you for being so willing to help me (us) learn. I feel like a complete idiot with some of the questions I feel I need to ask, but they're really more because I'm afraid of doing everything incorrectly! Thank you so much for your guidance and patience!

Maddie, thank you for your support and thank YOU and your Husband for your service as well! #HOOAH
 
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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,779
Houston, Texas
I have replied in red inside the quote. Yes Yippee and Skippy are both awesome!
Good morning!

We have had severe storms here since Friday night so I haven't been able to do much with my pool yet. However, I would like to clarify a couple of things.

1. When directions on a product state "with circulation pump running.....", does this actually mean to put it on circulation or does it mean to just have the pump/filter running?
It means with the pump running. If it says set filter to "recirculate" then they want you to by-pass the filter. What product do you have a question about?

2. When SLAMming, do you test every 15 min or every hour? There's been some conflicting advice.
For the first dose of bleach on a swampy green pool with no or very low CYA we may recommend the 15 minute test/dose cycle. It is a diagnostic tool for us when we suspect ammonia in the pool. It doesn't apply in all slam situations. If a moderator, guide, or expert is making that recommendation, please follow it and post back as requested. If a general member is making that recommendation, check with a mod, expert, or guide first. We have enthusiastic members who love to help, but not all of them have the experience to know when to make this particular recommendation.
For a normal slam situation testing every 2 hours is often enough.


3. I ended up buying liquid stabilizer instead of using the granules I already had. Approximately how long does this take to raise the CYA? And how long should I wait to start the SLAM process? I was planning on starting this weekend.
Liquid CYA is fine to use and you should see results within an hour of application. If the CYA did not rise as expected we will ask some additional questions to determine a course of action. If your CYA is at the level you targeted you may start slamming at your convenience.

4. When using the K-1000 test kit, after inverting to mix, how long do you wait before getting the results? Ex: a test strip says to wait 15 seconds. I ask because my chlorine results get darker after 20-30 seconds so I'm curious as to which result is correct...the immediate result or the one after 30 seconds? (I won't be using this during the SLAM process, just need to know for general purposes)
The immediate result is correct. Colors will change over time and do not reflect the correct test results. Testing instructions will say if there is any wait time. As far as I know only the CYA test has a wait time in the testing process.

5. I'd really just like to take a moment and thank all of you for being so willing to help me (us) learn. I feel like a complete idiot with some of the questions I feel I need to ask, but they're really more because I'm afraid of doing everything incorrectly! Thank you so much for your guidance and patience!
We are happy to help! We have all been in your shoes at one point or another, we know how you feel! It is itimidating at first, but once you get into it you will see how simple it really is. There are few mistakes you can make that cannot be easily corrected. Feel free to ask all the questions you need. If you don't understand the answer ask again. If you want to ask a particular member use the @ symbol in front of their username and they will get a notification to come to this thread. For example @Positive_Insanity , @YippeeSkippy

Maddie, thank you for your support and thank YOU and your Husband for your service as well! #HOOAH
 
Jun 1, 2019
5
North Carolina
@zea3 Thank you for answering my questions!

I just started the SLAM. I'm going to test in a few minutes just to make we hit 12, and then I'll test again every 2 hours until I go to bed. And then start again in the morning.

I know it's a little late now but....when I tested the water before I started the process, my FC was 2.5 and my CC was 4, giving a TC of 6.5. I haven't had a result like that yet. Should I have been concerned before I started the SLAM?

FC: 2.5
CC: 4
TC: 6.5
CH: 125
PH: 7.5
TA: 160
CYA: 30
Water Temp: 80°