New Pool Owner- Help with closing pool

Tdog

Active member
Oct 26, 2007
41
0
Va Beach, VA
#1
Hello,

First off, love the website. I have learned a lot just reading other posts. :-D

We just bought a house with a pool this month. I have never owned a pool before and I am having trouble keeping my head above water. I don't think the previous owner took care of the pool during the month long closing process. :? When we moved in the pool had zero chlorine and dime to nickel sized black spots all over the bottom. Vacuuming took care of most of these, I believe it was some kind of algae?

Until now, my only source for info was the pool store down the street :oops:

My question is about closing. I have the cover on now so that no debris gets in the pool. But I am having trouble getting the chemicals in order. (Pool store keeps telling me to add this and that, ya right!)

I only have a simple tester from Kmart as I am waiting till closer to spring to buy a good test kit.

Right now the water is crystal clear, but my test set is telling me:

TC: 0
FC: 0
pH: 6.0 or less (The color is less than what the test kit goes to)

What do I need to do?

I shocked (granular) and added algaecide (unfortunately not polyquat 60%) to the pool last weekend like the pool store told me to :twisted: , but after a week with the cover on constantly, shouldn't there be at least some FC in the pool? Filtration system is not running right now as I am trying to drain it below the skimmer.

FYI- I have been using 1" chlorine tabs in the water polishing system like the previous owner said he was doing. I want to switch to BBB.

Thanks for the help!
 

JasonLion

LifeTime Supporter
Platinum Supporter
TFP Expert
May 7, 2007
37,879
5
Silver Spring, MD
#2
Welcome to TFP!

First, get a good test kit. That is easily the best investment in your pool you can make.

The PH needs correcting right away. You never want the PH to be below 7.0. Your current PH tester is probably good enough to deal with this now. It will be a little tricky to figure out chemical amounts, because you don't know your TA. I suspect your TA is low also, but we can't be sure till you get good water test numbers. I would raise the PH with borax (20 Mule Team Borax is sold in the laundry detergent section of many larger grocery stores and places like WalMart and Target). You will need to experiment with quantities to figure out how much to use. PH below 7.0 can damage the pool, so take care of this as soon as possible. You will also need to turn on the circulation system to get the borax well mixed in.

I suspect there are several other issues, but we need good test numbers to tell what else is going on. Even a minor algae problem could have used up the chlorine, so that doesn't surprise me.
 

Tdog

Active member
Oct 26, 2007
41
0
Va Beach, VA
#3
Thanks for the info Jason. I brought a sample to the pool store today for testing since I don't have a good test set.

Here are the numbers:

Saturation Index: -0.24
Total dissolved solids: 0
Free Chlorine: 0.1
Total Chlorine: 0.1
Combined Chlorine: 0.0
pH: 7.3
Cyanuric Acid: 0
Copper: 0
Iron: 0
Total Alkalinity: 104
Adjusted total Alkalinity: 104
Calcium Hardness: 214
Temp: 75

They say: to add 6 lbs of Pool Breeze Stabilizer to bring CYA to 40.

I don't know whether I'm reading my tester wrong when it comes to pH, are the colors on the test kit supposed to be exact or just close?

According to your calculator, I should add 106 oz of bleach and about 31 oz of borax.

Am I reading this right?
 

JasonLion

LifeTime Supporter
Platinum Supporter
TFP Expert
May 7, 2007
37,879
5
Silver Spring, MD
#4
Hum, I wonder if we should believe those pool store numbers. Almost all chlorine tablets are made from trichlor, which contains stabilizer. The granular shock is usually dichlor, which also contains stabilizer. Towards the end of the season, having used chlorine tablets all summer, there should be lots and lots of CYA. On the other hand if your CYA was around zero that would explain where all your chlorine is going. Without CYA it only takes a little sunlight to burn off all the chlorine.

If we believe the pool store CYA number, I would only add 4 lbs of stabilizer. It is easy to add and difficult to lower, and having too much causes problems. Keep in mind that CYA can take up to a week to dissolve. If you add it to the skimmer you need to not backwash for a week. Some people like to put it in a sock and hang it in front of a return. Also, don't retest the CYA level for a week after adding some.

If you are using stabilized chlorine, trichlor or dichlor, then you should raise the PH some, between 3/4 and a full box of borax. If you are using bleach, liquid chlorine, or cal-hypo you can leave the PH where it is.

If your CYA is really that low you should be adding about 2 quarts of bleach every evening (or 5 oz of trichlor tablets a day).

If you haven't done so already, order a good test kit. The TF Test Kit, see the link in my signature, is a great choice. The Taylor K-2006 kit is also quite good. They both have the FAS-DPD chlorine test, which is not included in most test kits and is really important to have.
 

Tdog

Active member
Oct 26, 2007
41
0
Va Beach, VA
#5
Jason,

I was about to add some stabilizer when I started looking at my previous water tests from the pool store of shame.

A test I had done on 10/13/07 shows the CYA at 37
FC: 0.1
TC: 0.3
CC: 0.2
Saturation index: -0.46
pH: 7.2
Total Alk: 95

Does this make sense? Are their numbers crazy? I thought the only way to decrease CYA was to drain the pool? :hammer:

I did drain about 5 inches off the pool, but I would venture to guess this would not get rid of all the CYA.

I am going to add bleach only for now.

I am ordering the test set tonight (had to wait for payday).

Thanks again.
 

Butterfly

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 31, 2007
10,045
1
68
South Carolina
#6
Hey Tdog and welcome to TFP! :)

After receiving your new test kit, you will feel comfortable putting your pool to sleep for the winter :wink: . There is no freedom (pool related) like knowing what your pool is doing! The pool stores, bless their hearts, just don't cut it. Always trust your own test numbers over the pool store, which I am sure you already know :) . Again, welcome to TFP and when the swim season is ready, you and your pool will be ready, too!

When we bought our house w/a pool in Feb/06, our pool was 'light green' and turned to dark swampy green by May before we got the sand replaced and the pump 'fixed' in early June :shock: . But, when we got it clear, it has been beautiful w/BBB evver since!

You are in good hands here!
 

Tdog

Active member
Oct 26, 2007
41
0
Va Beach, VA
#7
Got my TF-100 kit today!! -Fastest shipping I've ever seen. :-D

My numbers:
FC: 0 (I am assuming 0 since, after adding the DPD Powder, the water didn't turn pink)
CC: .5
pH: 7.2
T/A: 130
CH: 250
CYA: 37 ** The most recent pool store showed CYA at 0. :evil:

Anything, besides the FC and CC look bad??

I am going to add about a gallon and 2 cups of bleach tonight to get it up to 4. My water is looking kind of cloudy, do you think I should add more bleach than this?

Thanks
 

JasonLion

LifeTime Supporter
Platinum Supporter
TFP Expert
May 7, 2007
37,879
5
Silver Spring, MD
#8
Obviously you need chlorine. I would aim for a FC level of 7 tonight so that it has some chance of being above 3 tomorrow evening. You want FC to be at least 3 at all times, which means raising it above that so that after you lose some to sunlight you are still at least at 3. This time of year and with that CYA level I would expect you to lose around half your FC on a sunny day unless the pool is covered.

Don't worry about the CC. One drop to change the color on the CC test is fine.

Your TA is just a little high. It isn't anything to worry about, but long term you should let it go down some, to perhaps 90.