New house with a new (old) pool - what to do?!?

sjvele

New member
Jan 12, 2021
4
PNW - Western Washington
Pool Size
17050
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hello,

As the title says, I'm new to all this pool business and have many, many questions. I set my signature to fill this info in, but I (think) I have (about) a 17k gal kidney (hence the rough estimate for now) plaster in-ground pool from the mid 50's. It has a Sta-Rite Max E Pro .75 HP pump, Rheem PM206 heater and a Tagelus sand filter. It will need to be resurfaced, but I am hoping to get a season in before addressing that. It looks like the previous owners used liquid chlorine and trichlor pucks. We just moved in and I am trying to learn about how to take care of this thing. Oh baby, am I glad I found this site!

I just received the TF-100 kit. I admit I was getting antsy and bought some test strips when I saw them in a hardware store last week. From the test strips it looks like there was no chlorine in the pool. The pH and CYA are probably on the high range of normal, but I used the test strips just to get a general idea and take the results as a ballpark. Last week I added 1 jug of HasaChlor 12.5% sodium hypochlorite (gallon I think) from the case the previous owner left just to put some sanitizer in the water. The water is holding pretty steady at 44 degrees. I have been doing a skim, brush (now with the wall whale), vacuum cleaning weekly. We have had crazy amounts of rain and I have removed water out through the waste setting a few times over the past 4-5 weeks since I became the pool person. I have only been running the filter for a couple of hours a couple/few times per week.

My main question is - Should I start testing with the TF-100 now or is it too cold?

And then as a follow up - Should I be doing anything differently now if I don't plan on swimming. And what if I do plan on swimming?

I'm excited to learn the TFP way from the start of my pool life!

Susan
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,583
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Welcome to TFP.
You will be very happy with the TF-100 test kit. Have you had the opportunity to test your pool water yet? The first time can be a little dauting but after a couple of tests you will gain experience and confidence. Follow the instructions that came with the TF-100 test kit. Post your results and the forum can provide feedback.
In the winter I run my pump everyday for 6-7 hrs. Obviously different areas have different energy costs but it is good to keep your pool circulating on a daily basis if you can do that.
It is good that you used the liquid chlorine (LC) but you need to understand that LC does degrade in % effectiveness overtime. So it is best you buy some fresh LC if you can.
It is good that it has rained and you have drained some water as you are keeping your CYA in check. Try not to use the trichlor pucks as that adds CYA and until you can test and know what your CYA actual is then stay with LC.
Water temperature doesn't really affect your testing but you can take a sample and put it in your home for an hour then test. I have read that CYA testing can be affected by cool water.
Before you swim, we need to verify your water balance so post a full set of test data. It is critical to get pH and FC (free chlorine) in line with you CYA.
It would also be helpful to test your fill water - this is from the tap that you use to fill your pool. That way when you need to add water in the summer, you have an indication of what affect it may have on your pool chemistry. Also, it is good practice for testing.
Good Luck and get back to the forum on your test data.
 

Summoner12

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2015
82
Riverside, CA
Welcome to TFP!

This has been my routine.... I've done it three times. new-to-me pool, new water. Test it, see where things are, maybe you don't need to drain it all the way down... But I would plan to. Things to consider, is your pool in an area with a high water table, will the pool float if you empty it all the way? This is a serious concern if you are in a high water table area. A concrete pool is a boat once you empty it. It can shift, and it has happened. But don't let that stress you out. Just do some research on your topography/water table. Then take action accordingly.

I like to start fresh. It helps you understand the pool. Others may disagree, and that is fine, I am not an expert. I just know I prefer the method.

Advantage to a drain and fill: you will have control of that water. Yes we test for the things we can control, but you don't know what the previous owner was adding to the pool. Pool stores sell ALLL kinds of stuff.

A tip i'd also suggest is monitoring your water consumption. The pool at my new house had a pretty good leak going on. I didn't really understand how bad until I fixed it. Older pools are more likely to have plumbing leaks, this is why I bring this up. Look for bubbles at returns and pipes draining while off. The pump should stay full of water as long as everything is tight and sealed. You can see my plumbing repair in my profile.

Another thing, buddy up to the local pool stores near by... buy hardware from them, or your chems... but don't buy anything you haven't decided to buy first. As in, don't go in asking about something and buy whatever they suggest. My pool store guy knows I am not an expert, but he knows I'm no dummy, so he doesn't waste his time selling me stuff I haven't asked for. I always ask what he thinks could be a good fix or cause of my issue, and I take it with a grain of salt and return with more knowledge to make a better decision. I should take my own advice here and visit the other stores near me... LOL but so far I've been buying my stuff from just the one store that was near my old house.

It is winter, so you shouldn't have to worry too much about chemical use. Things move more slowly this time of year so it's a good time to 'play' and not worry about the pool crashing and going green.
 

sjvele

New member
Jan 12, 2021
4
PNW - Western Washington
Pool Size
17050
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thanks HermanTX!

I have not tested with my TF-100 kit. I will bring some water inside to warm up and run a test tomorrow. I read that CYA can be affected by cold as well and when I saw the TriChlor I knew CYA could be too high. After I get a more accurate reading I may stop cursing all this rain! I wasn't going to use the pucks, which is a little sad because there are a lot of them - even a brand new unopened tub. We met with the previous owners (of 35 years!) to learn about the house and the pool and they we so happy to leave us the pool items. The LC is from this summer and there is only one more gallon left so I will be replenishing the supply asap. What is the average "shelf life"?

Thanks for the suggestion to test the fill water too.

I'll start a new thread with my first results later this week!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,177
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
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sjvele

New member
Jan 12, 2021
4
PNW - Western Washington
Pool Size
17050
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hi Summoner12,

Thanks for the tips!

I am hoping to avoid the drain and fill route right now because I assume we will need to replaster soonish. I am getting the pool people out to look at it next month and will make nice with them and the folks in the store. :) I know the previous owners didn't do anything all winter, took a sample to the pool store in the Spring and dumped in whatever Rx they were given. So the pool store will know our pool...

We do fear a massive leak. It has been impossible to measure consumption with the amount of rain we have had. Based on what you mentioned we may not be too bad - no bubbles at returns and pipes draining while off and the pump stays full of water - we shall see!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,173
Tallahassee, FL
What a pretty pool and yard/house you have there! You sure have found the right place to get and keep your pool Trouble Free hehe!

You are off to a great start getting your good test kit! Now run a full set of tests on your pool water AND your water from the place you will be adding water from. Now the house will NOT have any CYA in it so don't bother doing that test on that water.

Kim:kim:
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,583
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I wasn't going to use the pucks, which is a little sad because there are a lot of them - even a brand new unopened tub.
Keep the pucks as they do not degrade as quickly as LC. Thanks to @mknauss to provide the chart on degrading LC.
You can use the pucks when you leave town for several days. I test my water prior to departure, add a little more then the required amount of LC and then add 2-3 pucks in a floater dispenser. When I return I remove the floater and test the water. I usually find my FC at equal or acceptable level and store in a plastic bag the partially used pucks for another time. This adds minimal CYA to the pool because it is short term. Also any rain may help to dilute your pool as well.
Hope this helps.
Post your test results when you done your test. You can just wait an hour or so to warm to room temperature.
However, when you post your results in the PoolMath app, use the actual water temperature of the pool as that is used to calculate CSI for your pool water.
 
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sjvele

New member
Jan 12, 2021
4
PNW - Western Washington
Pool Size
17050
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Here are my results:

26 January 2021
pH 7.8
FC 5
TC 5
CH 150
TA 120
CYA 50
CSI -0.33
Temp 42 degrees F

I’ll test the fill water tomorrow.

I really enjoyed my little TF-100 chemistry set 🧪
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,583
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Here are my results:

26 January 2021
pH 7.8
FC 5
TC 5
CH 150
TA 120
CYA 50
CSI -0.33
Temp 42 degrees F

I’ll test the fill water tomorrow.

I really enjoyed my little TF-100 chemistry set 🧪
Looks good. Probably could increase CH some and lower TA. You want to do those slowly because you do not want to drop your pH significantly with MA which will also decrease TA. For CH to increase you want to add Calcium Increaser (can buy that at Home Depot, pool store or on Amazon) but do it in stages as you can only reduce CH by draining your pool. That is why it is good to know your fill water because that may add the necessary calcium to increase CH.
With regard to FC, it is not bad but I like to keep it within the stated range vs. just at minimum. So for CYA of 50 the chart states 6-8pppm for FC level.
Keep us updated.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,583
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Since you are now testing with your new TF-100, please read the following Recommended Levels and ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry as this will help you understand the levels needed for your pool.
Also, if you have not gotten it, please consider using PoolMath app as it is very helpful for not only tracking your data but also providing insight as to how much to add of what chemical based on your needs. So for instance, it will tell you to add x volume of MA to lower pH to x level.
 
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