New Pool Owner - can't keep chlorine in pool

cu0ngpitt

Member
Aug 25, 2020
14
Garland, TX
Hi,

I am 4 weeks in to owning a pool. It took me a lot of work to get the pool clear from lake green when I first moved in. Was really happy about the success but now I have a new problem. I can't keep chlorine in the pool. CYA is at 60 ppm and I am using liquid chlorine because of my high calcium level.

I believe I discovered my problem. I have a tree overhanging my pool which has seeds growing from the leaves and branches. I've been seeing tons of these seeds in my pool and I believe the cause is from wildlife eating the seeds and causing all the leaves and seeds to fall into my pool. I see stains in my pool and was wondering where they were coming from but now I believe it to be feces. I know for a fact the birds are pooping in my pool but not sure what else. My guess is there are also squirrels and raccoons eating these seeds. I'll clean the pool in the evening and the next morning there's tons of leaves, seeds and stains on the bottom.

I thought about getting a solar cover as a solution but I think deterring the wildlife would be an even better solution. I would hate to cut down this tree as it provides nice shade to the house and pool during the hottest times of the day.

Has anyone else had a similar problem and what did you do about it?
 
  • Like
Reactions: jstiefer

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,566
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
You likely let your free chlorine level get too low and now you have an algae bloom starting. Perform an Overnight Chlorine Loss Test. This will tell you how much chlorine is being lost at night and therefore, due to algae since no sunlight is burning it off then.

Then prepare to perform the SLAM Process.

You can get an FC reading by testing 30 minutes, with the pump running, after adding 5 PPM of FC.

You need to maintain your FC in proportion to your CYA. FC/CYA Chart
 

cu0ngpitt

Member
Aug 25, 2020
14
Garland, TX
Thanks, I raised my FC to 13 PPM last night and this morning it was down to 6 PPM. By nightfall today it was down to 1.6 PPM.

I do think you are correct about the algae bloom. I have noticed small spots of algae on the walls. Going to try and keep my FC above 5 PPM from now on.

I'm curious, can soil from the garden cause my calcium levels to drastically raise? My at home Taylor test kit is showing calcium at 700 PPM but the pool store shows 500 PPM. I asked about why the large difference at the pool store and they said they are using a larger pipette so the drops are not always the same size and their calcium test is very subjective since it's color based. I'm not sure which test to trust.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bmoreswim

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Lot going on here.

Stop testing at the pool store. You only need to pay attention to the Taylor kit. They virtually admitted to you their testing is inaccurate. If you don't believe me about that, believe them! ;)

Calcium collects in a pool until you change the water. It doesn't evaporate. So if you use calcium-based pucks, or your fill water has calcium in it (it most likely does), then you're constantly adding calcium and it builds up. Test your fill water with your kit to confirm. A CH level of 700 is manageable, but nearing the max. You'll have to exchange water to bring it back down into an acceptable range for your pool, then only use liquid chlorine. I top my pool off with soft water, to avoid calcium build up. It's been stable at 350-400 or so for about two years.

You've got a two-part algae problem. (1) The existing algae and (2) the cause.

1. You need to SLAM your pool, not just raise the FC level to 13 for a night or keep it at 5, or whatever. You have to follow the SLAM instructions exactly, no short cuts, all the way to the end, and pass the end-of-SLAM criteria. Post questions about that if you're not clear on how to SLAM your pool. It can take many days, or even weeks. Start stocking up on chlorine!

2. Your SLAM will take longer, (or never complete) if you have organics in the pool. So you have to clean up what's there, and stop new from coming in, as much as possible.

If you don't solve for the incursion of organics, this battle will be on-going, as chlorine can only do so much. Trees and pools do not like to co-exist. Some folks cut 'em down. That would be unfortunate and a last resort for me. Cutting it back is your minimum solution, and could do the trick. You could cover the pool. But, not with a floatie solar cover, as crud would still land on the cover and in essence still be in the water. If you can figure out how to negotiate with your critters to leave your pool alone, please share, as I'd like to keep my squirrels out of my fruit trees. We discussed it, and they agreed, but then they snuck in and ate every last piece of fruit I grew this year anyway! :mad: But seriously, even if you killed every last one of 'em, their cousins would move in the next day. Deter birds and squirrels? Good luck.

I'm thinking blockade (I'll keep the military theme going)! Can you erect a shade sail under the tree, between it and the pool. That would provide additional shade, which you seem to like, and help, possibly eliminate, the fallout? Size, position and angle it such that it catches most all of the bombardment and the shrapnel is directed away from the pool, ideally to dirt. What doesn't slide off might be encouraged to do so with a quick shake. Or a good hosing now and then. If you don't have any way to support a shade sail, I can give you some ideas about that. And where to buy a good one, too.
 
Last edited:

Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
352
Houston, Texas
Your overnight loss from 13 to 6 ppm confirms that you have algae, which you said you can see in the pool anyways. Just raising your chlorine level won’t get rid of the algae, and your pool will continue to eat up a lot of chorine until you address the algae problem.

As mentioned above, you need to follow the SLAM process, using your own test kit. And trust your own readings, not the pool store.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newdude

cu0ngpitt

Member
Aug 25, 2020
14
Garland, TX
Thanks all!

I couldnt SLAM my pool the other day bc I ran out of chlorine. But now I will go ahead and properly SLAM it bc I am still seeing algae show up in spots. Also had 4 big :poop:in my pool again today :mad:. Definitely a racoon or possum making my backyard his playground. Maybe if I kept asking the wildlife nicely and gave them a treat they will go away. lol

Jokes aside, I do really like the shade sail idea. @Dirk Can you suggest good places to buy them?
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Can you suggest good places to buy them?
I have what I think are the best. From Shade Sails. They're not cheap (hundreds for even a small one, not counting hardware). Nor down and dirty to install. They're structures, and they need to be supported and tensioned properly. But they won't flap around in the wind, and they'll last a long time. They'll even make one for you to the exact size and shape you need.($$$)
OR
You can string up one of those cheap blue tarps, or a cheapie shade sail from Lowes or HD, and do a proof-of-concept trial. See if a barrier will solve the problem, and put up with a little flapping noise (but not loose enough to flap collected yuck onto the water). If it works, then you can get a nice one. Target has 'em, too, $26.

 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Now if it's raccoon or possum, that's a different problem. They walk in on the ground and a shade sail won't help at all for them. Not sure about possum, but raccoons climb into the pool, and squat on your steps and go. Something about hiding their scat from predators. I've solved for raccoon on a raised deck by surrounding it with a shock wire system (this and some wire, standoff insulators, etc). Raccoons get used to noise and decoys and water blasters, etc. They're nasty. But the shock wire works, if you can string it where they'll have to cross it. Of course, for your pool, you have to consider the whole electricity/water thing. Distance from pool is key. You may need multiple solutions, from the sound of it. So sorry you're dealing with this. It really sucks.
 

cu0ngpitt

Member
Aug 25, 2020
14
Garland, TX
Well, in the process of SLAMing and when I started the animals didn't show up for 2 days. Last night, however, they returned and on top of things it also stormed for several hours. o_O It's pretty hard to keep those FC levels up. All of these extras don't help! 😓

I don't know if the pictures will help (pretty hard to really see it) but I thought I'd try posting pics of the scat to maybe see if anyone can help me identify the animal. I think I just may end up calling animal control to help me get rid of them. Scats are approximately the size of a thumb. Those are the seeds in my tree they are feasting on. When they show up, they cause tons of seeds to fall into the pool.
IMG_E0336[1].JPG
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If the scat is not too far gone, and you get an animal control guy that knows his stuff, that'd be your best bet for ID, good idea. I'm gonna guess raccoon.
 

peirek

Silver Supporter
Jun 21, 2017
567
Sachse, TX
While the scat is not pleasant and something to conquer you need to focus on following the SLAM process and get your water under control. The scat can be removed daily via net if need be. The algae can only be defeated with a SLAM. The additional organic from your trees are not desirable but if you keep your FC towards the high end of your CYA/FC range you can keep algae at bay assuming you clean fairly frequently.
 

cu0ngpitt

Member
Aug 25, 2020
14
Garland, TX
Hi All,
Was wondering how long does it take for the SLAMing process because I started Friday evening on Aug 28th and today is Thurs Sept 3 and my overnight chlorine test is still showing at 5 or 6 ppm loss. First day I started I lost 14 ppm overnight.

Everyday I vacuum out the leaves and branches from the bottom of the pool to waste and skim them out from the surface and empty my skimmer baskets. Since Saturday I've brushed the walls 2 or 3 times, and I've cleaned out my cartridge filters once. I test my FC each morning and each night and maybe once or twice in between to try and keep FC levels up. My FC measurements over the last week ranged between 12 ppm to 26 ppm since I've started the process. In the beginning I was adding up to 4 gal of 10% liquid chlorine in one day, however, chlorine additions have slowed down to about 1 to 1.5 gals now.

Sunday it rained all day and Tues the same. I have a 10.8K gal pool and all the rain raised my water level a good 6 inches. I'm wondering if I am doing something wrong or is it because of the rain my SLAMing process is being extended? I'm still getting my overnight visits from wildlife which defecate all on my deck and sometimes into the pool.

I've not seen signs of algae since Sunday, but now wondering if it's possible to get a 5 ppm FC loss overnight due to just leaves and feces in the water? This is getting really expensive dumping so much chlorine, please help. :cry:
 
Last edited:

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,566
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
It’s not the rain, unless it causes soil to wash into your pool. Obviously the feces aren’t helping you at all. But the debris still remaining in the pool is a major cause. You will make little progress with debris still in there decomposing and chewing through your FC. Focusing on that heavily will pay dividends.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
A SLAM takes as long as it takes. There are so many factors, and you seem to have a lot of factors, and they are cumulative. "M" stands for maintain, the better you maintain, the faster it will go: maintain FC, the more it drops below SLAM level, the longer the SLAM. Maintain the clean: the more stuff there is in the pool, the longer the SLAM. I really feel for ya, because that critter (critters) just won't let up. That's awful. To be honest (and I'm not suggesting you stop the SLAM but...), even if your SLAM is successful, I'm not sure you won't be right back at it as long as the debris and feces continue to plague the pool. I think you have to solve for everything, all at once. I know that you're trying to do just that, but the fact that the issues are still ongoing is what's prolonging the SLAM. Any help yet from animal control?

I'd be losing it, and would declare all out war (and have in my yard). Sorry animals, but PETA doesn't provide any help with pool and yard cleaning! An animal has a right to claim and defend its territory. But I am an animal! Traps, poison, projectiles, screens, fences, shock-wire, whatever it takes. I have, and would again. Stay out of my yard, and we can be friends. You have to make your yard so hostile, or somewhere else so inviting, that they figure it out, or else. You might try coming at this from both angles. I've read of a pool owner solving for bees in the pool by building them their own private water source that was closer to their hive than the pool was. Whatever it takes...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: bmoreswim

Lilypad

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Nov 12, 2016
269
Plano, Texas
You may want to try one of those motion activated sprayers that attach to a hose. A good shot of H2O might encourage your visitor(s) to go elsewhere!
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
You may want to try one of those motion activated sprayers that attach to a hose. A good shot of H2O might encourage your visitor(s) to go elsewhere!
I've read + and - about that method. I never tried it. Based on the aggression of the raccoons that would regularly trash my deck, and their reaction when I would yell at them (blank stares), I'm guessin' the sprayer would work the first night, but they'd be back the next with shampoo and rubber duckies! 🦝🐥🦝 Mine weren't even after food or water (there was none for them). They'd just come and sit around on my patio furniture, and walk around on the table! Bizarre. If they had wiped their grubby little paws off first, we could have worked something out. Nope. So they got the shock wire and that solved it.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Lilypad

cu0ngpitt

Member
Aug 25, 2020
14
Garland, TX
Thanks for all the input guys!

Any help yet from animal control?
No, not yet. Of course that is a pretty big problem, but I wanted to try trimming down the tree first. At best I know that will at least relocate the droppings from going into the pool and all over the decking. The leaves right now are endless and I'd like to focus on keeping all that debris from entering in first.

I'd be losing it, and would declare all out war (and have in my yard). Sorry animals, but PETA doesn't provide any help with pool and yard cleaning! An animal has a right to claim and defend its territory. But I am an animal! Traps, poison, projectiles, screens, fences, shock-wire, whatever it takes. I have, and would again.
This is hilarious, you have no idea. I've been absolutely thinking the same but my wife has been trying to keep me tamed over here and going too crazy with my war 😂. She hates that there's stuff in the backyard but just thinks I should cut down the tree, problem solved. I'm trying to compromise and cut the branches overhanging the tree first.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
8,378
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Definitely try the trimming first. Chopping down, last, of course. But if it's raccoons, neither would help, based on what I've read here. They're not in the tree, they walk to the pool and get in and poop (or maybe "hang over?"). They're hiding their scat from predators, I think. If you're finding biggish poo on only the top or second steps, that's a clue. You might have multiple invasions, Air Force and Navy, so you might need two war plans. My sympathies, my brother-in-arms!