New Member / Owner

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Hi everyone! Just bought a new house in April. I live in Wisconsin, so I didn’t open the pool until about three weeks ago. Thought I would share my experiences as a new pool owner, and if anyone is bored enough or entertained enough by my ramblings to get through the read, they could give advice and let me know what I did wrong or perhaps what I should look at doing moving forward. :)

To start: here’s a couple of shots of the pool as I bought it, winter cover in place! We didn’t have a tool to remove the cover and springs, but I borrowed one from a neighbor that has a pool and was able to remove it.

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Then, after the cover was off, as expected, the pool was a lovely shade of green.

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So, I went to work getting the mechanicals set up. My preliminary research on websites and YouTube instructed me that I needed the mechanicals running in order to get chemicals properly mixed in the pool for balancing anyhow.

Removed the gizmo from the skimmer and plugs from the two return lines. There was also another line deeper in the side of the pool by the diving board - I found out later this is a second suction-side line, and I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a drain or a dedicated vacuum line. Either way, I got everything off and fired up the pump. It took a little bit but it got going.

The previous owner had left some chemicals, and in with them was six bags of Cal Hypo. I mixed those in a 5-gallon bucket and poured them in the pool, and let it run overnight.

The next day I was greeted with much clearer water, though the sides and bottom were still pretty green and nasty.

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Took a pool sample to the pool store. Turned off the pump and emptied out the skimmer and pump baskets....and the pump wouldn’t prime back up again. >.<
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Luckily I had an ex-coworker who was married to a guy who runs a local pool water supply company. He set me up with a pool maintenance guy, asking him to help me out as a new pool owner. He stopped by early in the morning before I went to work, and found a leak in the plumbing on the discharge end of my pump. He sealed that up and it was able to prime and run again! He also gave me a new pressure gauge for my filter as mine was rusted out, and looked at my heater, though it’s so old he didn’t know how to get it running. Didn’t charge me a cent. Will definitely be using him for future pool needs I can’t handle myself.

Anyhow, here’s the mechanicals.

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Pump, sand filter, heater, some sort of in-line chlorinator.

Brought my pool sample to the pool store and they suggested first getting hardness in line, then alkalinity, then pH, then sanitizer levels. So I first brought hardness up to about 175-200, which should be fine as apparently I have a vinyl liner. Next day added a bunch of alkalinity stuff they sold, then a bunch of pH increased they sold. Finally, some CYA as my levels were non-existent, and then more pool shock in liquid form to put chlorine back in.
 

JodieM

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2013
239
Brownsburg, IN
Beautiful yard around that pool! Your next step should be to order the TF100 test kit, continue adding some liquid chlorine everyday until the test kit arrives and download the Pool Math App. Once you get your kit take your own test results and with your new Pool School knowledge and the guides in the Pool Math app you will learn how to SLAM your pool and clear up the algae and balance your water. Pay close attention to the CYA/Chlorine ratio chart when determining your chlorine values. Read through some other posts and follow other posters through their SLAM experience to glean more knowledge. Keep updating us with pictures along the way!
 
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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Meanwhile I had done a lot of manual skimming, and bought a new vacuum line as the one left with the house was broken on both ends. Vacuumed out the pool. In retrospect I should have used the leaf rake that came with the house first instead of vacuuming up the debris on the bottom of the pool - I had to empty out the pump basket 5-6 times, with tons of leaves, pine needles, earthworms, and even a dead frog getting caught in it. But I cleaned it out, and we brushed off the sides. It looked much better, though of course after all the cleaning, it was pretty cloudy. FA38C598-5238-4F60-80BE-54E8E4417718.jpeg
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The pool has a pretty snazzy light in it too. The photos I took don’t do it justice - we can’t find a good way to secure it to the side of the pool (the screw I found doesn’t seem to have anything in the pool wall to thread into), but even with the cloudy water it was spectacular.
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So - I bought some clarifier and some liquid shock at the pool store. In retrospect, the clarifier is probably unnecessary and the pool would probably have cleared up anyhow, but it did seem to help. Another day or so and it looked more like this!

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And at night (again, photos don’t do it justice):

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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Another week or so went by. I tested the water at the pool store - all levels good, except FC was 0 and CC was 0.8. I still had two gallons of their 12.5% chlorine liquid, and my calcs said putting those both in would take the FC up to about 8-12 ppm. What I’d read said you wanted FC about 10x the CC, so that should do it. Put them both in. Kept skimming daily, brushing and vacuuming a couple times a week. Now it is really clear, a week later (today) I took this photo:

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We had a lot of rain each week I opened except last week, so I’m adding a bit more to put the water level halfway up the decorative pattern around the edges in this photo.

Curious to know my FC and CC after a week. I did have the inline chlorinator full of tabs and on high, though this last week we turned on the pump for 8 hours a day instead of letting it run constantly like we did the first couple of weeks. (There’s no timer on the pump, just a switch.)
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
So some issues and I’m not 100% on the best way to resolve them.

1) Bottom gets dirt or dead algae or sand or something after only a few days. Not sure what it is. Sand filter status is unknown - I did backwash it about once a week, but who knows how old the sand is. I did read the article and watch the videos here on cleaning out the sand and should do that I guess. See if maybe that helps?

2) I also get a dozen or so of these things I vacuum out every few days. Some a lot bigger than this one. Not sure what they are or if they just wander in or are somewhere in my system...

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3) I have an old heater, but it doesn’t even have any electrical wire in the conduit running to it. I am thinking if having an electrician put in a timer for the pump and wire this up at the same time.
 
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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Brought in a water sample to the local pool supply store. (I know, I know, but I only have dip strips for now. Will get actual test kit. I just found this site today.)

Here’s the results they printed:

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To their credit they didn’t even try to sell me any of the Crud at the bottom it mentions. Just said I really only need chlorine. (He was mentioning the hardness until he noticed I had a vinyl liner and then said never mind that.)

Got some liquid shock. 4 gallons of 12.5% for $14.50. Per the calculator that’s $0.227 / oz which seems in line with what I’ve seen for bleach? Please correct me if wrong.

Will shock it tonight with 2 gallons and get a test kit to see about continuous testing of FC vs CC until CC eliminated and FC doesn’t drop overnight per articles. :)
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Ok - that’s about 1 gallon of the 12.5% for my pool, from my calcs. (Pool is 16’ x 36’ with 3’ shallow and 8’ deep end, estimated 20000 gal.)
 
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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
Those worm looking critters are millipedes. Make good fish bait. They're drawn to warm, dark, moist areas so you may want to check around your pump pad for leaks. No idea why they like to get in pools.
There’s definitely some sort of drip leak below my in-line chlorinator, but the pool equipment is 30’ or so away from the pool. I do have a lot of landscaping near the pool - inherited from previous owners. :)

image.jpg
 

Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
949
Fresno, CA
I do like the way your pool looks at night with the light. Beautiful geometric lines. Looking forward to seeing it with crystal clear water.
Your yard is well landscaped too.
 
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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2019
628
Milwaukee, WI
I do like the way your pool looks at night with the light. Beautiful geometric lines. Looking forward to seeing it with crystal clear water.
Your yard is well landscaped too.
Thanks! We just bought it so that’s mostly the former owners. We’re definitely enjoying their perennials! We did have to go on a garlic mustard pulling spree, but I guess that’s normal for this area, per the neighbors.