New member, somewhat new owner struggling with my sanity

reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
Hello all,

I apologize this might be long and rambling. I became a pool owner back in August 2020. The house we bought had an in-ground liner pool that appeared to be out of service for near 30 years. Found a pool guy to fix the substrate and install a new liner, coping, etc. I've been slowly fixing and replacing mechanical and plumbing as needed.

Pool has been great and I've kept up with testing weekly with a Taylor K-2005 kit. I recently decided to ditch the sand filter though because our water is expensive, troublesome to backwash (pool slopes toward the house) and I think I may have killed a nice evergreen that was soaking up most of the water during the backwash. In this process, I've switched the multiport valve to recirc to bypass the filter and started draining the tank - thinking this would make it easier. At the same time our water has become cloudier (not green but more white). I have been using trichlor tablets per pool guy recommendation but will switch to bleach after reading in the forums here. I think my CYA is too high, despite backwashing and refilling because of these tables. And because of that my FC is always low, although CC seemed fine as well.

I stopped by the pool store the other day to have them double check my numbers because I wasn't trusting my tests - I struggle to decipher the color charts with precision. I thought the store tests would be superior. The results they gave me are way off what I have been getting and of course they are recommending a plan I'm not really comfortable with. They said my phosphates and CC are through the roof and my TA is low. I was sold a $50 bottle of Pool Tonic to pour in after I fix the TA. I tested again when I got home an TA did look low so I've added baking soda and I think it's about 100ppm now. I'm debating adding this Tonic now. I don't know if it's a floc or clarifier but I do think I have suspended particles based on cloudiness. The idea of clarifier makes sense to me but I get I may have been duped. Further, I don't want to swap in the new cartridge filter if I'm going to be using a floc.

So, after that long opening and I'm sure leaving too many details out, my question is should I use this Pool Tonic now, then let it settle and vacuum and backwash the sand filter at least once more before moving forward with the cartridge filter swap? Or should I donate it to some other sucker, put in my new filter and SLAM? I want to clear up the cloudiness and am anxious to get the new filter installed. Right now I'm not filtering, so I need to do something.

Latest test:
TA: 100
pH: 7.1-7.2
CH: 400
FC: <1
CC: ~1
CYA: 60
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,989
NY
Hey reven and Welcome. We got you now. So take a breath while we hatch a plan.
Or should I donate it to some other sucker, put in my new filter and SLAM
Yes. Follow the SLAM to a ‘T’. If you slack it takes much longer so plan on babysitting the first day or two (testing and adding every few hours per the FC/CYA Chart).

Your TA is fine and the PH is right where you want it to start yourSLAM Process

Your CYA is higher than we’d like for a non salt pool but at least it’s not off the charts high like most people who find us when they are fustrated. To cut the 60 down to a 30 you will need to drain/exchange half of your water. You can SLAM now at higher chlorine levels or kill 2 birds with one stone and drain half of the bad water out before you SLAM, only having to clear the remaining half.

No Tonics, no potions, No flocs, shocks or other crocks. You need old school Bleach free of any scents, color max or polymers. Just generic bleach/ chlorine/ liquid pool shock.
 
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reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
Thank you both for quick replies. I promise I have read all of the Pool School guides (prob 5x by now). I overthink things and work myself into a paralysis-by-analysis situation (hence the title).

I just picked up some plain Clorox bleach (7.1%). I thought I could make due with the DPD chlorine test and get started today. If I do need the FAS-DPD, that probably puts me out another week while waiting for it. In that case, do I go ahead and swap in my new filter now? And regarding CYA and draining I'm back to the backwash problem. I have to backwash very slowly to keep from flooding my yard (and possibly my crawlspace). But this maybe leans toward leaving the sand filter in for now because I haven't yet come up with how I'll drain water once removing it. And I know I'm being stubborn but I really hesitate draining 1/2 my pool. Water is crazy expensive here and I'm not exaggerating the slope issue. I just wish there was some other way of bringing my CYA down.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,989
NY
I just picked up some plain Clorox bleach (7.1%
Pretty much all Clorox brand has additives. It will say ‘with XYZ’ on the label. XYZ is all polymers and can make the pool foamy. Ironically you’ll need chlorine to get rid of the foam. One bottle in an emergency won’t hurt. Many bottles in a SLAM will probably hurt. You couldn’t have known, so don’t fault yourself.
If I do need the FAS-DPD, that probably puts me out another week while waiting for it. In that case
Add 4 PPM based on PoolMath per day and it will not get any worse than it already is.
And regarding CYA and draining I'm back to the backwash problem. I have to backwash very slowly to keep from flooding my yard (and possibly my crawlspace)
Then it’s probably best to wait until after when it can become a longer (slow) process. Here are the various methods. Draining - Further Reading
You’ll probably prefer the water exchange. You can do it in stages of need be but the exchange percentage has diminishing returns with each stage. Just throwing easy numbers out to get the idea..... 50% and 50% does not equal 100%. The second drain of 50% also drains 50% of the new water so you only drain 75% of the old water even though you technically drained 100% of the total gallons.
But this maybe leans toward leaving the sand filter in for now because I haven't yet come up with how I'll drain water once removing it
Wait on the draining until after then. The worst that happens is you’ll need some extra chlorine buffered by the higher CYA. It won’t break the bank. Maybe $5- $10 extra in bleach a week.

Either filter will filter. Sand filters can take longer to do their job with the SLAM. But cleaning cartridges gets you wet and messy so I won’t fault you either way. When you do the swap you can plumb in a drain option with a 3 way valve that acts like your current MPV. One of the 3 ways comes from the filter, one to the pool, and one goes out to drain like now. (It doesn’t help the non-ideal drain *situation*, but the option can easily still be there with cartridges).
I just wish there was some other way of bringing my CYA down.
you can wait for it to go down on its own about 5ppms per month. It will just need some extra chlorine per the FC/CYA Chart. Rain also helps some so an elevated FC for 6 months really wouldn’t hurt that much.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,989
NY
Is your profile right that you’re in Denver ? I would have guessed the pool was frozen right now. Anywho it’s cold and will be for a while.

Do the SLAM which will be greatly helped by dormant algae not growing exponentially.

Keep a slightly elevated FC now compared to what would be considered your ideal CYA/FC (based on your current CYA) for the rest of the winter and early spring. The April showers will help some too and by the time you even think of actually swimming, your CYA will be 40 and close enough.

No draining. No Algae. BOOM.

keep us posted and fire any questions away.
 

reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
Shoot I did pick the one that had no fragrance or additives but it does have that “with Cloroxmax”. Any recommendations for local bleach? Leslies (online)has it but $70/4gal seemed a little steep.

Oh and we are open right now. Crazy I know. But our pool is heated to 92. My wife insisted. We just got the pool 3 months ago we needed to get our use of it! I have to admit it is fun swimming in steamy water, like a hot spring 😊
 

reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
I ordered the FAS-DPD kit and also found a Taylor version on Amazon that will arrive tomorrow. So it looks like I can start this weekend as long as I find some good bleach. Thanks for all the input. I’ll update how it goes!
 
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magiteck

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
434
Neenah, Wisconsin
Pool Size
13600
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Shoot I did pick the one that had no fragrance or additives but it does have that “with Cloroxmax”. Any recommendations for local bleach? Leslies (online)has it but $70/4gal seemed a little steep.

Oh and we are open right now. Crazy I know. But our pool is heated to 92. My wife insisted. We just got the pool 3 months ago we needed to get our use of it! I have to admit it is fun swimming in steamy water, like a hot spring 😊
Denver area Home Depot appears to have 'HDX Germicidal Bleach' with looks like 7.5% pure bleach. $3.61/81oz works out to about $5.70/gallon. Not a great deal, comparatively in the Summer I can get a gallon of 12.5% for about $4, but an awful lot cheaper than having Leslie's ship it for $17/gallon.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,989
NY
but it does have that “with Cloroxmax’
With *anything* is bad. Any kind of ‘extra’ be it splash less/ scented yadda yadda yadda the bisque was excellent.
Leslies (online)has it but $70/4gal seemed a little steep.
Ouch. Probably due to shipping. That’s insane. I checked the Denver Walmart and Home Depot but it looked like they will only have the pool kind when it’s warm out (in season).

Do you have any pool stores around ? If you pay $1 extra a gallon, that is fine for now. Some of them even let you buy in bulk where you purchase a big container for $20 and refills are cheaper.
Oh and we are open right now. Crazy I know. But our pool is heated to 92. My wife insisted.
that is awesome for your spirit in defiance of the single digit temps coming next week, (seriously BRAVO) but bad for the algae that can grow and thrive in 92 degree water. It’s ok. We will help you win no matter the strength of the opponent.
 

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reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
Okay last question for now I hope. If I go ahead and drain, does pulling from top or bottom make a bigger difference? Just pretending the guy at the pool store wasn’t completely wrong, is the surface or floor more likely to have the worst of what I want to pump out?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,338
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If draining, it does not matter. The column of water is the same chemistry top to bottom. But -- you have a vinyl liner pool. So you NEVER want to drain more than leaving one foot of water in the shallow end of the pool. Safer is doing an exchange. And since your pool water is so hot, putting the cold fill water in the deep end and pulling water out at the surface will be a very efficient exchange.

 
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reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
With some crazy wind all weekend and the cold snap I didn’t try draining or changing out filters. Today I did sneak out to do a water test (got the FAS-DPD test). Maybe I’m just really bad at testing because the numbers are not as expected. The new test was useless as it didn’t register any FC. Should I just proceed with SLAM?


------------------------------------------
Test Results 02-08-2021 @ 04:11 PM
------------------------------------------
Free Chlorine: 0.0
Combined Chlorine: 0.0
pH: 8.0
Total Alkalinity: 110
Calcium Hardness: 250
CYA: 40
Temperature: 86°F
 
Last edited:

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,338
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If the sample did not turn pink when you added the powder, then there is no chlorine in the water.

Proceed with the SLAM Process
 

reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
I started my SLAM last night finally (nothing like brushing during 8 degree weather!). I poured in 2.75gal of liquid chlorine last night to bring FC up to 16, per app suggestion.
Just after starting SLAM, FC: 0.4, CC 4.0
I just tested the water today and FC is 2.0, CC 7.6

Does this seem right? I knew I'd have to keep adding but I'm nowhere close to my 16 FC target and the CC went up?
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,989
NY
The CCs are to be expected when the FC does its thing. It also uses up the FC quickly, at first it can be only an hour or two which is why you need to stay on top of it at first. Anytime below SLAM level drastically reduces the killing of the Algae.
 

reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
Okay, so I should be adding another 2.5 gal? I bought 6 thinking it would get me through this but it's looking like I'll need more.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,989
NY
It’s always better to have it but if it’s easily accessible you can wait until you know you’ll need it. It’s also pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things so if you had 8 extra gallons leftover you would use them anyway eventually and they wouldn’t break the bank. Store leftovers in a darker, dry place and they’ll retain enough of their strength for a good while.

So here’s what’s happening. You bring the FC to SLAM levels and it instantly starts eating up the algae which uses up FC in the same token. With a lot of algae to start, you can be down several PPM of FC in an hour or two. Test and add as often as you can. If that is only twice a day it will take longer but at these current temps the algae is dormant and not exponentially growing. So that helps greatly. As the Algae bloom dissipates, you’ll need to add less and less often. Testing will give you a feel whether it lasts 2 hours, or 20. You want to sla*M* (maintain). Dead algae will fall to the pool floor. Vacuum what you can daily and brush daily. If you have manual Vac with bristles you can kill both birds with one stone. Algae grows a biofilm on the walls and floor to protect it. Regular brushing will remove the biofilm and stir the algae into the chlorinated water.

Any dead algea needs to be removed by the filter or by Vac-ing to waste. Going to waste is preferred but that lowers your pool water too and can create other problems depending on drainage and the cost of full water. If using the filter it needs to be cleaned anytime the PSI raises 25%. With cartridges you’ll get wet but at least you won’t have possible drainage issues that many people see backwashing a sand/de filter.
 

reven

Member
Jan 12, 2021
21
Denver, CO
Okay, I've added another 3 gal and will go get more. I don't have an issue with the cost or having extra - I like having some on hand and will use it like you said.

I was just concerned that I could be overdoing it - it's how I got in this mess in the first place by adding too much CaCL and CYA. I have been running the robot 3-4x a day because it's so bloody cold so I don't want to deal with the vacuum. I also just installed the cartridge filter, so cannot backwash. I can't imagine how I'd be able to clean the filters at this temp - maybe have to take a shower with them :). It's pretty easy to clean the robot filters in the sink. I am brushing as well.
 

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