New home (pool) owner, opening to leaf tea...

adrienne20

Member
Jun 26, 2019
11
Blue Bell, PA
Recently bought a house that has a 16x30 above ground pool. Covered with a mesh cover and leaf net, in an area surrounded by trees. Water was a dark black/brown upon opening. Got the existing pump and filter running and added some liquid chlorine. Tried to scoop out as much junk from the bottom with a leaf rake, which stirred it up pretty good. Trying to vacuum out as much as possible, but it's a challenge because the filter needs to be cleaned so often.

I ordered one of the recommended test kits, which should be here tomorrow. Should I start the SLAM before we get all of the dirt/decomposed leaves out? I don't want to spend a ton of money on chemicals if it won't really get us anywhere before the water is at least reasonably clean (free of visible debris). Should I worry about pH first? Or just try to get/keep the chlorine levels high?

I found a box of new filter cartridges in the shed of stuff the former owners left. The cartridges currently in the filter look quite old/discolored/aren't really coming clean when hosed down. Is it worth changing the cartridges now or waiting until we've removed more debris?

Thanks in advance!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,766
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
Do post a full set of test results when you get your kit.
Get as much of the debris out of the pool as possible. With a cartridge filter there is no easy way to vac to waste. You could possible vac to waste using a siphon, but would need a down hill area near the pool you could send the water.

I would use the old cartridges right now. They never go back to white so they may be just fine.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry and consider reviewing the entire Pool School eBook.
 

Audrey2129

New member
Jun 26, 2019
1
Library, PA
I am in the same exact boat. Ours was black and there were A TON of leaves. After a few weeks of filtering with the filter that was there, we decided to just drain it and put in a new liner. I feel that you need all the debris out first. After draining mine I found that there was sludge that would have taken who knows how long to filter. Good luck!
 

adrienne20

Member
Jun 26, 2019
11
Blue Bell, PA
Got the test kit (Taylor K-2006) and changed out the filter cartridges (wow, what a difference!). Here are the test results:

FC = 2.6 ppm
CC = 1 ppm
pH < 7.0 (base demand: 7 drops to 7.2, 9 drops to 7.4)
TA = 80 ppm
CH = 270 ppm
CYA = 0? (Too low to test? The black dot was clearly visible with the tube filled to the top.)

I assume I need to tackle the lack of CYA first?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,766
Laughlin, NV
Great job on the tests. When you say pH less than 7, what color was the test?

You should use enough borax to raise your pH from 6.8 to 7.5. Use PoolMath for the amount. Add it to the pool, circulate for 30 minutes, and re test pH. It should rise pretty easily as your TA is high for having a low pH.

Then add 20 ppm CYA (stabilizer). You can use what you have if it has not gotten wet. Once that is dissolving, add liquid chlorine to 12 ppm FC and follow the SLAM Process

Keep the Cal Hypo and the trichlor sticks. The algaecides, pH down, etc plan to dispose of at your local household hazardous waste facility.
 

adrienne20

Member
Jun 26, 2019
11
Blue Bell, PA
pH test was a gold/yellow color (not orange enough to register 7.0). I read here that anything lower than 6.8 will register 6.8, so pH was kind of a guess. I have some borax on hand (although probably not enough - pool math says 121 oz to reach 7.5). Will proceed as instructed.

Thanks for the disposal tip, I was wondering about that.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,766
Laughlin, NV
Add what borax you have. A pH test of 7 or 7.2 is great. Also aeration if you can. Your TA of 80 should allow the pH to rise pretty quickly.
 

adrienne20

Member
Jun 26, 2019
11
Blue Bell, PA
Stabilizer and bleach have been added. After the CYA is dissolved, when should I retest for CYA?

We have a SWCG that we haven't been using. Should I wait until after the SLAM to turn that on? I haven't tested salt levels yet. According to the Chlorine/CYA chart, we'll need to add more CYA to get to a good spot before using that?

Also, the return jets in the pool don't have the eyeball parts, they just shoot straight out. The pool is rectangular, with the return jets on the deepend short wall about 1/3 of the way to the middle. The skimmer is on the same short wall, 1/4 of the way in on the opposite side of the returns.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,766
Laughlin, NV
I would leave the SWCG off. Manage that when you get past the SLAM process.

Test your CYA in a day or two.

Returns should not be an issue. Do brush as much as you can when in SLAM. It really helps. Run a cleaner if you have one.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,864
Sebring, Florida
No need to retest CYA unless you are really unsure of your dosage. If you are comfortable you dosed it right, you can assume it is in there.

Please keep your SWG off for your upcoming SLAM. It is of marginal help and can lead to some confusion.

You are doing all the right things. It sounds like you are ready to SLAM, Have you read the article? Have you read "The "ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School? Ask lots of questions.

Do you have a multiport valve on your filter that allows a "bypass" or "recirculate setting"?
 

adrienne20

Member
Jun 26, 2019
11
Blue Bell, PA
We passed the OCLT last night and CC has been less than 1 for a couple days. SLAM complete and water looks inviting.

With the SLAM done, what's best to start with balancing the remaining factors (CYA and pH are still low). Should I run another set of comprehensive tests and follow what pool math says to add? Any tips for transitioning to the SWCG?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,766
Laughlin, NV
Raise you CYA to 60-70 ppm. Follow the SWCG FC/CYA Chart.

If pH is 7.2 or higher, leave it.

Your SWCG will need to run 12+ hours at 100% to supply the FC needed for your pool. Adjust the run time as necessary.
 

adrienne20

Member
Jun 26, 2019
11
Blue Bell, PA
Happy 4th everyone! Things have been going pretty well so far. We got salt in the pool and turned on the SWCG, which is producing chlorine. I just checked FC, which is at 7, which is a little high (CYA should be 65). We've been running the pump 24/7 for the last week or so, and I'd like to set the timer. I looked at pool math, but I don't quite understand how to figure out the pump time. How do I know the FC generated? I don't see this in the manual anywhere. How can I test for that?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,766
Laughlin, NV
You can use Effects of Adding Chemicals.

For your pool, to start, I would run the pump 12 hours per day with the SWCG at 100%. That will create 3.3 ppm FC per day. If you find FC increasing, reduce your pump run time by 1 hour.