New Home - First Pool - Where do I start?

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
Recently purchased a new home with a decent sized IG vinyl lined pool, about 16x32. Details of what I have (or think I have) are in my sig as suggested. We were told the pool was closed very early in the season last year. Water is GREEN! I've got the TF100 kit on order and should have it in a day. Pump/motor was seized, or appeared to be at the time of the pool inspection last fall, but inspector said it might turn over and be fine once it got going.

At this point, the wife and I are planning to uncover it and attempt to open it within the week. Trying to get ahead of things in case we run into problems -- don't want the first summer for the kids to be spoiled because the pool is out of commission. I'm looking for some help on where to even begin. I'd like to get the pump going ASAP so I know if it needs to be replaced or not. From what I've seen online, it seems that I need to remove a few plugs from the skimmers and returns. Can someone offer some guidance on what the first steps should be as I await my test kit?

Thanks in advance. Forum seems like a great resource -- looking forward to this!
 
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PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
Thanks. Should I be pulling plugs and firing up the pump/filter yet just to start circulating the water? Need to understand the DE filter and what should/should not be done.
 

DorsalSpine

Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
483
Columbus, Ohio
I'd check for articles on opening a pool either here or online. Hayward probably has information on cleaning/recharging your DE filter. Do not run the filter without adding the proper amount of DE. My DE filter has "fingers" not grids so I can't tell you the exact process. Once I decided to move away from the pool service I paid them to show me what to do the first time I opened/closed myself. Here is what I do. Your millage may vary.

Put the drain plugs back in the base of the filter basket that is part of the pump. Spin the motor/impeller by hand to free it up. Sometimes they stick over the winter. Pull the plugs on the incoming lines leading into the filter. Vac out the antifreeze. Reconnect the incoming lines and make sure the valves are open. Go to the pool and pull the plugs on the return lines in the pool. Put the eyeballs back in the returns. Pull the gizmo/plug from the skimmer. At this point all the lines are connected and the water is free to circulate. Turn on the pump and check for leaks. Turn off the pump. Go get the DE. Put some DE in the skimmer and turn on the pump. Continue to add the DE until its all gone. I clean my filter at the end of the season. If that wasn't done you might have to clean the filter first before you add new DE. It sounds more difficult than it really is.
 

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
I'd check for articles on opening a pool either here or online. Hayward probably has information on cleaning/recharging your DE filter. Do not run the filter without adding the proper amount of DE. My DE filter has "fingers" not grids so I can't tell you the exact process. Once I decided to move away from the pool service I paid them to show me what to do the first time I opened/closed myself. Here is what I do. Your millage may vary.

Put the drain plugs back in the base of the filter basket that is part of the pump. Spin the motor/impeller by hand to free it up. Sometimes they stick over the winter. Pull the plugs on the incoming lines leading into the filter. Vac out the antifreeze. Reconnect the incoming lines and make sure the valves are open. Go to the pool and pull the plugs on the return lines in the pool. Put the eyeballs back in the returns. Pull the gizmo/plug from the skimmer. At this point all the lines are connected and the water is free to circulate. Turn on the pump and check for leaks. Turn off the pump. Go get the DE. Put some DE in the skimmer and turn on the pump. Continue to add the DE until its all gone. I clean my filter at the end of the season. If that wasn't done you might have to clean the filter first before you add new DE. It sounds more difficult than it really is.
Thanks -- this is a helpful start. I opened the filter up and it appears that I have grids and they're new. I didn't see any evidence of leftover DE - things looked relatively clean. Looking though the pool supplies left behind, I did not see any DE so looks like I need to go pick that up.

  • Drain plugs and motor seems straightforward -- no issues or concerns there.
  • Antifreeze - Need to google this and figure out how to go about vacuuming it out. From what you're saying, it sounds like all plugs remain in the simmers/returns, and I need to somehow open the incoming lines near the pump/filter to vac it out? Vacuum with what exactly?
  • After the antifreeze vac, it seems pretty easy. Assume that the new DE just gets added per specs on the filter. Unfortunately I don't see a specific model number on the filter I have, so I'm guessing a bit on the size of it. I'll have to give it another look to see if it's marked anywhere.

Thanks again for the help. One step at a time...
 

DorsalSpine

Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
483
Columbus, Ohio
I use a wet/dry shop vac to get the antifreeze out. Some people just flush it into the pool. If it was non toxic RV or pool antifreeze you can do that. I have two lines heading into the pump. One from the main drain, one from the skimmer. They have unions right where they "T" together to go into the pump basket. That's where I add the antifreeze. You can't block the main drain so that line is full of water. The antifreeze just sits on top of the column of water in the pipe. I put the gizmo/plug in the skimmer and vac out as much water as possible from the skimmer line. I put antifreeze in the end near the pump and in the gizmo. The gizmo threads into the skimmer and sits above the water level. It's hollow on top. That way you can vac most of the water (or antifreeeze) out of the line (from both ends) and add antifreeze from both ends. I usually just pull the gizmo and let the live fill with water. I suck the water/antifreeze out of the other end.
 

DorsalSpine

Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
483
Columbus, Ohio
Keep in mind this is what works for me with a pool with one skimmer and two returns. Your pool could be very different. The basic process is the same regardless. You need to empty and/or fill all the above ground lines that could freeze. With a shop vac and the right fittings you can blow them out and/or suck the water out and plug one end. Put antifreeze in from the other end. I always add antifreeze even if I blow the line clear just in case a plug leaks and water gets back into the line.
 

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
Keep in mind this is what works for me with a pool with one skimmer and two returns. Your pool could be very different. The basic process is the same regardless. You need to empty and/or fill all the above ground lines that could freeze. With a shop vac and the right fittings you can blow them out and/or suck the water out and plug one end. Put antifreeze in from the other end. I always add antifreeze even if I blow the line clear just in case a plug leaks and water gets back into the line.
Cool thanks. Adding some pics of the plumbing setup near the pump and filter. Need to go eye up the skimmers to see what was done there. Water level is fairly high and has been at skimmer levels since we first saw the house due to early closing and a lot of rain. That being said, it doesn't seem like I can just pull the plugs in the skimmers and vac out near the filter, as I'd have a ton of water flowing in from the skimmers, correct? When opening the pool in the spring, do you want or usually have the water level below the skimmers, similar to how it is when it's closed and lines are blown out?

985689856998570
 

DorsalSpine

Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
483
Columbus, Ohio
Ok, your setup is way more complicated than mine. Take a minute to follow the water flow so you know where everything goes. It looks like you have a multiport valve to direct the flow. I don't have one so I can't help you without being there to see where everything goes. What I do may not work as easily for you. Having a pool guy walk you through it might be money well spent.


Look up pool gizmo on google and watch the videos. If you have one you will recognize it. It will make my previous messages and what I say next make more sense. You can close a pool several ways. If you drain the water below the skimmer level and the level of the returns it's easy to blow the lines clear. Then you just plug them. You still need to plug the skimmer to prevent rain and/or snow from refilling the pool above the skimmer.

I don't do this. I leave the water level in the pool alone. I use the gizmo to plug the skimmer. Google is your friend here when you look at the gizmo. I blow the lines clear and plug them. That way every line has antifreeze. If my plugs leak the lines will freeze. I don't want to drop the water level since I'm using well water to refill the pool.

Water doesn't run uphill. All of the unions at your filter are above ground so you won't get much water coming out if you open the unions to access the lines.
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
1,994
SE Kansas!
Cool thanks. Adding some pics of the plumbing setup near the pump and filter. Need to go eye up the skimmers to see what was done there. Water level is fairly high and has been at skimmer levels since we first saw the house due to early closing and a lot of rain. That being said, it doesn't seem like I can just pull the plugs in the skimmers and vac out near the filter, as I'd have a ton of water flowing in from the skimmers, correct? When opening the pool in the spring, do you want or usually have the water level below the skimmers, similar to how it is when it's closed and lines are blown out?
Honestly, since you need to SLAM Process, I would pull every plug and let the system fill with water. No need to vac, the liquid chlorine will oxidize the RV/Pool Antifreeze (it's non-toxic)

Can you tell on the valves, open & closed? Are the pipes marked at all? Any plans left behind?

Let me find the Pool School Opening Article :)

Here is the article that highlights closing procedures: Closing an In Ground Pool - Trouble Free Pool
You might find it useful to figure out what to look for
This is opening for above ground pool (but some things are similar): Opening Your Winterized Pool - Trouble Free Pool

Also the Table of Contents (not everything applies): Table of Contents - Trouble Free Pool
 
Last edited:

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
Thanks to both of you for the info. Regarding the plumbing -- no, nothing seems to be marked. I'll have to do some detective work to figure it all out. Seems like next steps are:

  1. Pull all the plugs in the pool skimmers and returns and let pipes fill with water
  2. Install plugs back into the pump, filter, etc.
  3. Fire up the pump to a) make sure it works and b) get water flowing through the system (for a minute or so
  4. Add DE to the skimmer closest to the filter to pre-coat the grids in the filter (everything currently looks clean). Once pressure reads OK (need to determine what 'clean' pressure should be), let filter start doing it's thing while I get ready to test and SLAM?

Sound about right?
 
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splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
1,994
SE Kansas!
This is an *uneducated guess* at what I think your pipes are, do you have a heater? More than 2 returns?
Do you have 2 skimmers & a main drain?

Not sure why the clean water branches off like that (although I could have the flow reversed) :D

98587
 

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
This is an *uneducated guess* at what I think your pipes are, do you have a heater? More than 2 returns?
Do you have 2 skimmers & a main drain?

Not sure why the clean water branches off like that (although I could have the flow reversed) :D

View attachment 98587
Thanks for the attempt... I think I'm good on the flows. 2 skimmers and main drain coming in to the pump. There's a solar heating system installed on the top of my shed -- that's why the return branches off -- I have the option of directing the water up into the solar heating system, or right back into the pool sans heat.
 
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DorsalSpine

Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
483
Columbus, Ohio
You have the right idea. Fill it up, fire it up and start testing. Make sure you follow the Hayward directions for the charging your filter with DE. It looks like ther are tags on the filter housing. The Hayward web site is pretty good for finding manuals for your filter. At least it was for me and my filter is 20 years old. Still runs like a champ. Have fun.
 

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
Just an update - got everything running yesterday so that's a plus.
  • Awaiting test kit so I can really determine what's going on in the water, but the old test kit that was left behind showed essentially zero chlorine and pH appeared to be < 6.8.
  • Also learned that the motor on the pump is close to shot - hummed, seized up and tripped the breaker multiple times. Opened the back of the motor up and saw tons of corrosion. Managed to break the impeller free but needed to 'jump start' it by pulsing the impeller screw with my impact driver in order to get it going. After further investigation, it seems like the previous homeowner removed the on- and off- triggers from the pump timer, leading me to believe that they got it going and just left it running 24/7. Time to start shopping for a new motor. Any suggestions are welcome.
  • Some chemicals were left behind, and I can post a proper inventory later. Mainly noticed a box of shock packs (1lb powder each, CYA-free), some pH balancer and a bucket or two of chlorine pucks. Assuming CYA levels aren't too high, is there any reason not to use the chlorine pucks initially until they're all gone?

Some pics after the cover came off... More to come!
98660
98661
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
1,994
SE Kansas!
Was the test strips or drops/liquid?

Don't do anything by strips.

You can grab a quick "baby" HTH drops test kit @ Walmart while you wait for a proper test kit to arrive.
That will let you check your "real" PH
You will still need to get a full proper test kit, with or buying the FAS-DPD test
 

DorsalSpine

Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
483
Columbus, Ohio
You can add a lot of CYA with pucks if you are not careful. I'd hold off on them until you have a proper test kit. Get some bleach in the pool ASAP until you can test properly. That is pretty green and it's only going to get worse with the cover off. Figure a gallon per day as a start. My pool is 16k gallons and I use .3 to .5 gallons of bleach per day. That's a clean pool with a 30 - 40 CYA level. You are going to use way more than that to get your green monster under control.

You really need to vac/net any obvious debris and run a full battery of tests. There are plenty of people here who will walk you through the process once you get some good test results.
 

PSUlion01

Well-known member
May 30, 2018
64
Northern NJ
Test was a drop tests, not strips. Not great but enough to tell that pH was lower than the lowest on the test kit and chlorine registered nothing (it was higher than nothing this morning following three packs of shock). TF100 kit arrives today so I'll run tests once that arrives and report back.

Any reason to avoid the bags of pool shock that I have? Each bag is 1lb and says it contains no CYA. One pack adds 9ppm of chlorine, or something to that effect. Instructions say to add 1 bag per 9k gallons, so we threw three in last night and ran the filter all night. Regardless, I think I'll try to hit Walmart or HD and pick up some bleach/liquid chlorine tonight after work for the next boost.

Started netting out the debris in the pool last night but ran out of light. More cleanup today. Would it be better to hook up the vacuum first, or fish things out with the net, or let robot run?