New Pool Owner - Educate Me!

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
Hi folks!

I have recently inherited a very nice in ground pool from my wife's grand dad. We're located in South Carolina for reference.

It's 30,000 gallons, in ground with a liner. Your typical rectangular shallow on one end, deep end on the other. It uses a 3/4 HP Hayward pump.

My wife grew up with the pool, but didn't do much in the way of maintaining it. We've kept it up the last two seasons. I never knew much about pools, and we've more or less just followed instructions from her granddad. We call him "Popi" and I'll refer to him as that from now on to save typing granddad so much. Lol

We've really been very fortunate. It hasn't been difficult to maintain. We've had nice clear comfortable water each season, and honestly I'm amazed at that. We did accidentally leave the pump on backwash or pump to waste last year overnight and completely drained it...😬.

I stumbled across this forum because it has a Frog system (5400). I've always thought it odd we sort of have a hybrid type of way to maintain the pool with this system, but again we were just following instructions. Popi has run this pool successfully for 30 years, so why argue right?? We would take a sample to the pool store when it was time to open in spring, and they would give us the chemicals to get the pool right. We'd go through the cycles they told us to and get it right, then put a fresh mineral pack in the Frog, then administer the one of the algae controlling packs (green bottle I forget the name) but then the rest of the season we always just operated it with test strips in a more traditional manner.

We would apply shock, stabilizer, chlorine tablets as needed according to our test strips. Never have known much about what I'm (we're) doing, just dumping things in according to the instructions on the packaging and in accordance with the test strips.

When we opened this year, the lady at the pool store told my wife honestly she wouldn't fool with the frog system at all any longer, not to even mention we have a frog system in the future when we take samples in.

I was doing a little research on the frog system yesterday vs traditional maintenance and ran across this forum.

I see you guys are in agreeance on no to the frog system! I'm a okay with that. I also see that you guys talk about testing every day. Shoot we've probably on average only tested 3 times a week. I'm sort of amazed that we've been able to keep the pool in such good shape with relatively little work. We haven't had to shock it all that much. Once we get it right in the spring just some chlorine and some stabilizer here and there.

I decided to join because, in the frog discussion I ran across last night, y'all kept mentioning CYA, and I had no idea what you were talking about. So I googled that, and sort of went down a rabbit hole on Google proving to me that I don't know anywhere near as much as I thought I did.

We have just built a house on our land beside the pool that we moved into in February. I now want to learn more about the ins and the outs of pool care so that I really understand what and why is going on and what we're doing. Not just blindly following the orders from Popi and the pool store.

Thank you all for your time to read my drivel!
 

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duraleigh

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Welcome to the forum:wave:

If you intend to follow TFP protocols, you should read "The "ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School.

Then ask questions about each parameter.

I will caution you in advance........what we tell you is likely FAR different from what you learn in the pool store and you will soon discover an insistence that you get one of the only two kits test your water correctly......the tftestkits TF-100 or the Taylor K-2006C
 
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Texas Splash

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Welcome! :wave: In reality, last year's accidental water drain probably helped you by removing much of the copper from the Frog system and algecides. I'm impressed the pool store lady said to stop using it. But now you need to take charge. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:
1. The TF-100 test kit is the way to go. The Taylor K-2006C is fine, but you can't beat the quantity of reagents and customer service from testskits in my opinion. In SC, you'll get it fast too. If you can do it, you should also get the magnetic speedstir. Test Kits Compared
2. While waiting for your kit and to post test results, read/save those Vital Links in my signature. You'll need them.
3. Update your signature as well. Very important. Also include which test kit you order.

Lots of folks here eager to help and coach you through the process. It's not that hard with the right kit and basic understanding of water chemistry. You'll see.
 
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mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
Sig is updated with everything I can think of off the top of my head!

We do have a rover that operates off of an auxiliary pump that has not been in use since we took the pool over. I attempted to use it last year, but it needs a bit of a rebuild. The belts were gone, needs bearings, etc. Having never seen one operate, is it effective enough to put in the time to get it fully functional?

I do have a Viglio automatic vacuum (Amazon special very similar to the Barracuda G3) but I do not have it dialed in yet and it isn't being depended on for anything yet. Until I have it working to the point that I trust it to clean I'm not adding it to the sig. I'll rely on manual vacuuming.
 

duraleigh

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is it effective enough to put in the time to get it fully functional?
Absolutely not. Spend you cleaning money on a robot. They now dominate the market because they work. For that size pool, get a good one up in the $1000 range or continue to manually vacuum.

That Viglio is a dinosaur as well.
 

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
Honestly I'll just keep vacuuming it the way I have been before I spend that much 😂. Until we have a loooooooot of other things taken care of first! It doesn't take me too much time to vacuum it by hand.
 

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
I'm looking at the TF-100 test kit and associated options.

Is the PH Meter add on nice to have? Also, the explanation for the magnetic stirrer isn't great. Before I consider spending $40 on it, can someone explain to me why it's nice to have? Thank you!
 

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
That is very cool!

Do you guys like the PH meter, or just stick with what's already in the kit?

The sand in our filter was replaced 4 years ago, I think it's probably time to put get new sand also.
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

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Apr 10, 2018
1,409
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I don't use it and most on the site rely on the included test. I've tried one out here at home. They're accurate assuming if you keep them calibrated, but there's no time savings and the color test is accurate if you can read the variations in colors.

Try out the color test in the kit first. If you have difficulty reading Taylor test included in the TF-100, the pH meter may be a good supplement.
 

duraleigh

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There is virtually never a need to replace sand......it never wears out but it gets dirty. Deep Clean your sand per the article in Pool School and check to see that you have the right amount (about 2/3 full) in the filter.

The pH meter is nice but needs to be calibrated often. Some don't like the "iffyness" of the standard phenol red test but, to me, it seems VERY easy with just a little practice. I would say go with the standard phenol red and, if you don't like it, get the meter later.
 
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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
971
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I bought the pH meter and used it at the beginning as I was not 100% confident in my testing ability and wanted the crutch of something to give me an actual number.

Fast forward a few months, I get much more accurate and repeatable results with the drop test and find the pH meter to be inconsistent at best, even after buying a calibration solution. If I had it to do over, I would have not bought it.

The speed stir on the other hand, I absolutely would buy it again. I have 3 extra "beans" for it as well so I can put 1 in each tube for my full TF100 tests.
 

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
There is virtually never a need to replace sand......it never wears out but it gets dirty. Deep Clean your sand per the article in Pool School...
I'm working through it. I'm a little past the point where it talked about adding some DE to the filter sand to improve efficiency, which somewhat prompted the mention of changing the sand. I was wondering if I should consider using a "better" filtering media.

I have read in the past about the sand grains, over time, wearing and becoming more round and smooth, this reducing their ability to "grab" contaminates and their effectiveness. If y'all insist that that's hogwash, however, it's fine by me! Not buying new sand or going through the trouble to remove and refill it works for me.
 

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
I have just ordered the TF-100 test kit with the magnetic stirrer.

We've been using chlorine tablets. I'll be looking for the best deal on the highest percentage of bleach that I can find locally as soon as I can. I might check Amazon also for liquid chlorine.
 

bmoreswim

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One thing I've found helpful on the pH test included (phenol red), is to focus on the shade of the test sample, not the intensity of color. So you are really looking for yellow - orange - orangey pink - pink - pinky purple. You may have more or less intensity of color than the color coding shows, but the color family or shade is what you want. I think with a little familiarity and so long as you don't have a colorblindness issue affecting those color ranges, it will be no issue whatsoever.

Regarding daily testing, here are a few thoughts on TFP's approach...

Daily testing for FC is quite common and needed for the following scenarios:
  • New to you pool
  • Sanitizing with liquid chlorine
  • In the SLAM process (perhaps testing multiple times per day)
  • Something doesn't seem right with the water
  • Not comfortable with the process
  • Global pandemic and you have nothing else to do
Testing every few days for FC is quite common for the following scenarios:
  • You are familiar with the pool's chlorine usage
  • Using a SWG (adds chlorine consistently)
  • You have a firm grasp of pool chemistry and the effects of adding chemicals
 

mwemaxxowner

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2020
106
Pageland SC
I have a question that I'm sure will be answered in time in the pool guide, but you again mentioned liquid chlorine, and I find it as the recommended approach around here. It seems foreign to me, as this pool has always been maintained with tablets (I played here when I was in middle school) and everyone I know with a pool uses tablets. What's wrong with using tablets to apply your chlorine?

It sounds like liquid or bleach will be an easier way to apply a more exact amount more quickly, if and when it's necessary. But, otherwise, once levels are made right and things are running consistently, why not tablets?
 

Texas Splash

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Liquid chlorine (regular bleach) is almost pure sodium hypochlorite with very little byproducts. Tabs however are pressed together with stabilizer (CYA). With each acidic tab, not only does it lower the pH (and perhaps TA), but it increases CYA to a point where the water may need to be exchanged. That's a very common problem with chlorinating solely by tabs.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
971
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I'm sure the smarter people can give a more in depth and better answer, here is my explanation:

- Tablets/Pucks add chlorine, but also add CYA (stabilizer)
- CYA is good in your pool, to a point. It helps protect your chlorine from the sun, but it also ties up some of your chlorine, leaving less to fight algae.
- Since most people just test chlorine, not CYA too, they keep their chlorine levels constant and over time as their CYA rises, the chlorine becomes less effective.
- Then one day they they wake up with algae. Pool stores love people like this and will sell them all sorts of algecides and potions to mask the problem.
- Eventually they have to drain part or all of their water and start over. Then the cycle starts over.
 

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