New Fiberglass and SWG: Start-up Questions

Happy Easter!

Our pool and pavers are complete. I'm really happy with the work that's been done and now I'm ready to fire up the pool [emoji1]

I received an email from the contractor with start-up instructions; however, he's not a "pool guy" and I trust the good folks at TFP!

> Fiberglass, was plaster
> 17K gallons
> Hayward DE-6000
> Hayward variable speed pump
> Pentair IC40
> TF-100 Test kit
> K-1766 Taylor Salt Test*

1. Contractor says to get pH to 7.2 to 7.8 before turning on pump
1a. How do I evenly distribute Muriatic Acid without running the pump?
1b. I have a Dolphin cleaner that I can run, will that be helpful?
2. Contractor recommends "Pool Stain Treat" before adding Chlorine
2a. Is Pool Stain Treat something TFP uses?
3. When do I bring CYA up?
4. In reading the SWG guides I know to use liquid chlorine to get started
5. When do I add DE?
6. I know nothing about Salt
6a. Can I get that at Home Dept, Lowe's, or Amazon?
6b. Any brands to look for or stay away from?

I'll run an initial test when we get home from Easter Dinner and post tonight. Thanks for reading and any comments!!!


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Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
Pool and deck look very inviting! Congrats on a job well done!

I would suggest running a full set of chemistry with your nifty TF-100 and bring the results back here.

I'm not sure what the issue is with turning the pump on..... what is he expecting to happen, I wonder? My pool installer started up the pump immediately and then added the salt. Do NOT turn on the salt cell for a day or two to allow the salt to completely dissolve before sending any salt water thru the device.

Then you will want to add your stabilizer (bring it up to about 60ppm to start with, using pool math app <see above> to help guide you on how much that will be) and then your liquid chlorine. Until you turn on your SWG use the Non-SWG guidelines for what levels to bring it--> [FC/CYA][/FC/CYA] Keep the chlorine up to desired level with bleach/LC then when ready turn the SWG on and let it take over maintaining that previous level. Its going to be trial and error at first to determine pump run time and SWG %. Tweak to desired outcome.

Skip the stain treatment unless you know you have metals in your water or possibly use well water?

As to DE.. I can't advise as I have a sand filter.

Holler back with any questions :)

Yippee :flower:

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hi Patrick! Congrats on the FB set-up. Looks nice. To piggyback on what Yippee said:
- We pour muriatic acid "slowly" near the return jets with the pump running. You can sweep a bit afterwards as well if you're concerned. Then you can re-test pH (and TA) in about 30 minutes.
- For stabilizer, we use the sock-soaking method to dissolve the granular stabilizer. If you've never done that before, let us know.
- I see no reason why the filter shouldn't be charged right away. We know it's not a good idea to run grids dry (no DE). Perhaps another DE owner will confirm with your new set-up.
- As for salt, here are some previous notes:
-- Solar salt from any hardware store is cheaper than pool salt. Pool Salt is just ground up a little more.
-- Morton's pool salt at Wal Mart for $6.91 for a 40 lb bag. Academy Sports also has it for around the same price.
-- Diamond Crystal Solar Salt from Home Depot, 5.38 a 40lb bag.
-- Water softener salt without additives is good. Look for salt that is 99.4% pure or better and doesn't have any rust inhibitor or other additives. The best choices include Diamond Crystal® Solar Salt Extra Coarse Crystals in blue bags, Morton® White Crystal® Water Softener Salt in blue bags, or Diamond Crystal® Sun Gems® Crystals Water Softener Salt in yellow bags. Pool salt is also fine, though in many places it is more expensive.
Thanks Yippee and Texas Splash!!!

I fired up the pump and have questions:
1. There are three return jets and they are all located at the shallow end
1a. Is that enough flow because to me it seem a little lacking in the deep end?
1b. The previous set up had one near the middle, deep end side...
1c. Unless what's showing in the picture below is part of the flow system?
2. There's a hole that I put my hand over thinking it was a return jet and as I was typing this I remembered that the contractor said he was putting in a vacuum line...
2a. It had enough suction that it "hurt" me enough that I can only imagine a kid's hand or someone's back being damaged by this!
2b. Is there a plug for the vacuum line that I can get?
2c. Is this normally something that has an "on/off switch?"
3. Pump is on Quick Clean
3a. Pressure is 17
3b. It seems quite loud...

It's dark but I'm going to run some of my first tests now :)




Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
I have a fiberglass built in Spa and was always told not to use MA with it
You may hear that from some pool stores and installers who are just repeating some archaic guidance. It's fine when poured slowly with the pump running. It's fine.

Is it possible that a fresh fill would have a high pH?
PH, like TA, varies across the country. Now worries and easily adjustable.

As for the jets, I would say three is the minimum. I actually have five, but 3 point directly across to the deep end. The other 2 are also in the shallow end, but point across from side to side. For me, I find the wind to be my biggest foe when it comes to surface movement. As long as the wind isn't pushing away from the skimmer I'm okay. Often times those dedicated vacuum ports have a flip-type cover to keep stuff (and fingers) out. You might ask your builder if there is one he can install, unless that port/line has it's own shut-off near the pad.
Thanks JoeGolan and Texas Splash!

It's good to hear that MA is fine, since I put some in this morning. I had revered in my head how to lower pH and that's why I was wondering about the high pH out the gate.

This morning I put the pump on 70% and dropped a leaf near the skimmer intake. The leaf did not get sucked into the skimmer. Is 70% not enough of a draw to pull in a leaf? This has me a little concerned and I don't like the fact that everything is done and there are no jets in the deep end :|

I asked the builder about vacuum port.

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
I would think a leaf "should" find its way to the skimmer with the pump running at 70%. Things that may influence it's ability are:
- Poor suction (place your hand close/over the skimmer intake to feel pull)
- Weir (flapper) door not functioning properly
- Water level too low (or even too high over the skimmer opening)
- Wind direction pushing surface debris away from the skimmer
I will have to put my hand in there and report back on the suction.
Now that you mention it, there is no Weir (I didn't know the "flapper" was called that).
> Is this an issue?
The water level is definitely not too low, so maybe it's too high?
> We had an auto-fill installed so maybe I need to adjust it to not fill so much?
There just doesn't seem to be much flow on that end... If I posted a video do you think that would be helpful?

Thanks for all the replies!!! I love forums like this :)


Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
The weir actually does two things:
- When the pump is on, it lets the top edge float around the water level and affects the flow characteristics into the skimmer. It increases the flow into the skimmer so that more surface debris gets drawn into the skimmer.
- When the pump turns off, it blocks debris from flowing back out of the skimmer.

Now if your water level is too high, right at the top skimmer opening for example, then it can prevent water (and debris) from pour-in to the skimmer opening efficiently.
So the suction in the skimmer works quite well now; it pulls enough that I cut my finger testing it out. The valve for both suction and the vacuum was open to both. Since I use my Dolphin and have no plans to get a vacuum I had him shut that off.

I still have an issue with things not being pulled into the skimmer. In the video I took the flower in the pool actually floats away from the skimmer. That's with the pump running at 87% (Quick Clean).

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Wow. That thing's not moving at all. Well, the water level looks good, although you should have a weir there. I would let the installer know the weir is missing that it may be effecting water flow into the skimmer. Once the weir is installed, if water flow doesn't improve, they may need to reevaluate what's going on. I know with my 2-speed, on low movement is very slow, but things do "drift" slowly into the skimmer. On high things move better. Keep in mind though that some debris is stubborn because of size, shape, water density, etc and just doesn't seem to want to float across the goal line for a score. :) Something else you can try is to toss some ping pong balls on the water. They are usually a good indication of water movement since they don't get waterlogged.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
Hmmmm. All I can add is that if I'd had my druthers on this pool I wouldn't have necessarily put the skimmer on the side of the pool but at the end facing the returns. That is how mine is set up, also having my returns in the shallow end. But I also have a pressure side cleaner return that we just leave open and that's where the bulk of my return water seems to come back in to the pool from.

Do you know which direction your wind flows? Is this skimmer placed in line with that, I wonder?

Yippee :flower:
Hey Yippee,

I'm not really sure the wind direction but maybe West to East, as that flower in the pool did end up moving away from the skimmer. That may well have been from whatever little flow there is in the deep end, so I can't really tell.

The skimmer was there before the latest work was done, so I'm guessing that's the original install location. What I do know is that for some reason on the North side they removed the return jet that used to force flow into the deep end... Luckily if I have to make them put that back there wouldn't be too many pavers that they'd have to remove. :|

Just wanted to verify that the Solar Salt I purchased is one of the one's listed:

Mortons Solar Salt.jpg


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
Yes, that's fine. It is 99.8% pure salt. Just make sure it is all dissolved before turning on the SWG. It will take 1-2 days, the bigger the salt crystal a bit longer......y'know?

Yip :flower:
Actually it was the manufacturer of the fiberglass shell
Hi Joe,

When you say shell do you mean an actual shell they inserted? I know that's probably a stupid question; however, my fiberglass isn't a shell but rather they laid fiberglass down and then coated over top of that. Maybe that's what you mean by shell... Being new to this I just want to understand :)



Bronze Supporter
Nov 2, 2016
Palm Coast, FL
Hi Joe,

When you say shell do you mean an actual shell they inserted? I know that's probably a stupid question; however, my fiberglass isn't a shell but rather they laid fiberglass down and then coated over top of that. Maybe that's what you mean by shell... Being new to this I just want to understand :)

No, it was a pre-formed unit (San Juan Pool) made in the factory and shipped to my home, no fiberglass work or gel coating was done on site. PB installed it when we were expanding our lanai with all equipment being on a pad at the side of the house

San Juan Pools make preformed pools and spas

They are based in Lakeland Florida