New Pool owner, basic equipment questions, pool story time


Mar 31, 2020
Raleigh, NC
Hello! I'm a new pool owner. I acquired a property with an in ground pool a few months ago as my primary residence. I've been lurking here since that time.

About my pool: It's approximately 18K gallons, in ground vinyl liner pool with a deep end and diving board. I think the deep end is about 8.5 feet, which IMO is a little shallow for a diving board (though the board is about 8" from the dock and is short and stiff).

When I acquired the property, the pool had below 6 PH according to the pool inspection during the home buying process. After moving in, I hired a local pool company to install a SWG system, fix some broken valves, add a pump timer, and get the chemicals right.

I quickly learned that the pool company is completely inept at adjusting the pool chemicals. After paying for like 80lbs of sodium bicarbonate, the PH was still off the charts low. I decided to take matters into my own hands and take some water down to the local Leslie's. There, they suggested adding more sodium bicarbonate. I felt this was wrong, as it was making 0 bit of difference. I started looking at the chemicals themselves on the shelf and formulating my own plan. The Alkalinity raiser (sodium bicarbonate) advised to raise PH with soda ash if PH was below 7.0 IIRC. So bought some of that. The pool shop also advised me that my CYA was over 100, and I'd need to drain some water out of the pool, thanks to the pool jockeys adding way too much.

Simple, enough. I started draining water out of the pool with plans to refill a little with my garden hose. Anyway, my friend came over, I shut off the pump. I awoke the next morning to find my pool completely empty. I forgot I just had the timer installed and the multiport was still in backwash mode. My liner was pulling away from the walls and there was no way I'm filling 18K off of my well pump. Long story short, I was able to get a pool contractor out to suck the liner back to the walls and have a filling service re-fill my pool. That was in November, so I've been holding great water since, no leaks or any other problems that I know of. Fortunately I was waiting until spring to add the salt, so at least I didn't have to buy that twice.

I'm hoping to get a heat pump installed any day now, any day... electricians and pool installers are sort of on island time around here, but I found a couple people that seem to be reputable. I have a solar cover in the mail with reel as well.

Anyway, that's a little about my pool. I have some basic questions.

I see that TFP recommend brushing, is this recommended for vinyl? If so, what type of brush and how often?

Paperwork that came with liner (it's about 3 years old now) says maintain calcium hardness. This seems to be at odds with information here and elsewhere. I decided to split the difference and added 100ppm of calcium hardness. Thoughts?

My pool doesn't seem to have an overflow drain. Is this normal for vinyl pools?

I started to get a little algae before I covered it for the winter. I get the FC to about 10PPM for a few days, and I added a half bottle of Leslie's algae control, and that seemed to knock it out. That was in November. In the past week or so, I've done the same. I didn't see any algae since removing the cover, but until my SWG comes online, I wanted to keep the chlorine nice and high and start off on the right foot.

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: Well, you've had some fun times already. :hammer: No worries, we'll help. Here are some starters:
- You are correct. CH is not a factor for vinyl unless it's too high (scale). Just leave it at 100.
- Your water should still be chilly, so if you have algae, or even think you do, you need to follow the SLAM Process.
- Most important - you need a TF-100 (or Taylor K-2006C) test kit. No more store testing. As you've seen, they are generally wrong, poor testing, and sell over-priced stuff, most of which won't help you. That includesgecides. No more. Those cheap algecides can add copper to your water (another mess) and will not kill algae. Only chlorine in the proper amount will do that, hence the SLAM Process and TF-100.
- Hopefully you have that low pH under control. When you get a heater, that is the number one killer of heaters - a lot pH (acidic), and it will eat the guts out of a heater quickly. So keep the pH in the mid-to upper 7s. The only exception right now, a pH of about 7.2 when you get ready to do a SLAM.

I think that's about it. Make sure to read/save those Vital Links in my signature, and let us know if you have any other questions.
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Mar 31, 2020
Raleigh, NC
Thanks for the responses. I have the Taylor K-2006C and the Taylor salt test, among other test kits. My PH is about 7.6 now with the new water, TA is around 70 or 80. The algaecide I purchased was certainly not cheap ;) After I posted here, I did some more reading, it turns out to be what people are calling PolyQuat (which contains no metals). I more or less happened to use it exactly as recommended on this site somewhere (under further reading or something). I just added some to the pool as part of early season start up as FC was 0. I don't suspect I currently have algae at this time since the pool is covered and the water only came above 60 at the surface in the last day or so (after adding the FC and algaecide).

How about the brushing? Do people brush vinyl pools regularly? Any particular recommendation on the brush type if so? I currently have a brush from previous owner, it looks like it's made of nylon.


Well-known member
Jul 2, 2014
Athens, GA - USA
Yep, nylon brush. Probably seems a little stiff. I like to do it once a week just to make sure nothing is sticking to the walls and everything gets exposed to fresh chlorine. Lately more often b/c of all the pollen that likes to collect at the water line. Robot does a great job everywhere else.