New pool owner, might need to brag a bit

sccm_sysadmin

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2017
195
Greensboro, NC
#1
TL;DR: Just finished my first SLAM as a brand new (to me) pool owner and it was a complete success! For the impatient people, the photos are at the bottom. ;)

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This forum and website are great – I’ve read just about everything on here and went from knowing zero about pools other than “they need chlorine” to being much more knowledgeable. And as silly as this sounds, I’m also silently thanking my high school AP Chemistry teacher from 15 years ago (has it really been that long?!?); all that stuff about pH and titrations in the back of my mind was good to know.

My wife and I bought a new house several months ago and it included an in-ground vinyl pool built in 2007, with the original liner. The previous owner said it was 22k gallons, the company that built it told me it was 25k gallons. I’m actually leaning towards 22k based on the numbers I saw during my SLAM but that’s another story.

When I took the top off for the first time a bit over a week ago the water was slightly murky but definitely not the disgusting swamps I’ve seen in a few threads here. Mostly blue, some gunk on the bottom in need of vacuuming, but I could see the main drain in the 8ft section. The walls really needed a good brushing as well. Water temp was 58F according to the heater.

Here’s how my SLAM process went – starting from these numbers (TF-100 test kit w/SpeedStir)
FC 0
CC 0
pH ~7.4
TA 130 (maybe a little high?)
CH 225
CYA 0
71F temp -- we had a warm streak for a few days before I started the SLAM so the pool warmed up nicely. At this point I turned on the heater and set it to 83F since my wife wanted the pool ready ASAP.

I added 8lbs of Clorox brand CYA one evening to bump the levels up to 40, which I verified the next morning. I also dumped in 3 gallons of 10% chlorine and (2) 121oz jugs of 8.25% Clorox, just to see what would happen overnight. The next morning it was slightly less murky and I measured an FC of 0.5 so it ate through that dose of chlorine pretty quickly. I also dumped in another 4 gallons of 10% chlorine, measured a FC level of 4 a few minutes later (!!) and went to work. I wasn’t planning on maintaining the shock level, this was really just a “I wonder what will happen if….” sort of test.


5/2:
Vacuumed and brushed entire pool. Quite the chore, especially having never done it. Stirred up lots of muck so I couldn’t see the bottom to vacuum very well. Spent a LONG time vacuuming to waste so the water level dropped from just under the top of the skimmers to just above the bottom of the skimmers. Had to clean out the pump's basket numerous times since it kept clogging every few minutes.

9:30PM, start SLAM

  • Water @ 78F & pH ~7.4.
  • FC 0.5, CC 0.5
  • Added 512oz of 10% chlorine to bring it up to shock level, which is 16 according to the chart if you have a CYA level of 40ppm.

9:45PM
  • FC 22 (!!)
  • CC 2
  • The FC of 22 leads me to believe that the pool is closer to the 22k gallon mark, and possibly less than that right now due to having to ‘vacuum to waste’ so much water to get all the crud off the bottom. Water level at this point is about ¼ the way up the skimmers.

10:50 PM
  • FC 10
  • CC 1
  • Added 172oz 10% chlorine

11:55PM
  • FC 15
  • CC 1
  • Added 42oz 10% chlorine


5/3

12:20AM
  • FC 15.5
  • CC 0.5
  • Added 32oz 10% chlorine, went to bed

7:45AM
  • FC 17.5
  • CC 0.5
  • Added 24oz 10% chlorine to maintain levels while I’m at work. Water in the shallow end was mostly clear, the deep end was slightly murky but I could see the bottom drain again. Still some leftover dirt/debris to vacuum out.

7:00 PM
  • FC 2.5
  • CC 0
  • Added 384oz 10% chlorine to bring FC back up to shock level.
  • Water in pool was crystal clear upon arriving home from work, with exception of some dirt on the bottom that didn’t get vacuumed up the previous night. Pump has been running nonstop. Both skimmers were almost completely clogged (I added some skimmer socks the previous night and they caught tons of gunk) so I cleaned those out.

9:35PM
  • FC 16
  • CC 0
  • Vacuumed remaining dirt out


5/4 (today)
7:15AM
  • FC 16
  • CC 0.5
  • 81F

SLAM process appears complete after passing OCLT.

I used 2,304oz of chlorine (2,062oz of 10% chorine from Wal-Mart, 242oz of 8.25% Clorox), including those 9 gallons I used during the "what if...?" curiosity test before 'officially' starting the SLAM. 2,304oz is 18 gallons exactly.

Our pool is absolutely crystal clear. Maybe a few small pieces of dirt/crud on the bottom that are too small to warrant vacuuming right now. I’ll analyze all chemical levels later this evening after work, along with brushing the walls and bottom again. Assuming they're all good, our pool is now open. :) And yes, I'm in the middle of installing a fence around it.


If any of you have any suggestions/comments/criticism, don't hesitate to post it. Thanks!



A few before/after pics:

4/26, before starting SLAM:






5/3, approx. 24-hours after starting SLAM

Before second vacuuming



After second vacuuming




5/4, SLAM complete:


 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#2
Happy it worked out but your what if game was dangerous. With no cya in the water and raising the FC that high you put your pool and equipment at risk for damage
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
308
Dallas, TX
#3
Welcome to TFP and that is a great looking pool. Research and a little hard work can pay off quickly. I will only note that I didn't realize it was that warm in the NC already. The pool temperatures seem high for this early, and knowing you had FC of 0 and a temp of 78 when you started I'm surprised that it wasn't a huge green swampy mess. If your thermometer reading correctly?
 

sccm_sysadmin

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2017
195
Greensboro, NC
#4
Please correct me if I'm wrong -- the CYA is merely to protect the chlorine from the sun, yes? Does it do anything to protect the equipment?

Looks like adding in the ~5 gallons of chlorine during my 'what if' experiment (should) have raised the FC level to about 22. Hopefully that didn't do anything to damage my equipment. Although I will mention that I think my heater might have a leak internally; there seems to be a large wet spot about it. My filter also leaks a few drops here and there; I think it needs a new main o-ring.

All the equipment is at least 10 years old now and I don't know anything about how it was maintained. While I'd like to keep it running as long as possible, it won't break my heart if I need to replace it. I'd like to move from sand to DE for better filtering, replace some of the cheap valves with higher quality versions, get a newer, more-efficient pump, etc.

- - - Updated - - -

Welcome to TFP and that is a great looking pool. Research and a little hard work can pay off quickly. I will only note that I didn't realize it was that warm in the NC already. The pool temperatures seem high for this early, and knowing you had FC of 0 and a temp of 78 when you started I'm surprised that it wasn't a huge green swampy mess. If your thermometer reading correctly?
Thanks for the question about temps -- I've edited my original post to explain a bit more.

When I first pulled the cover back in early April, I turned on the heater and it said the water temp was 58F. We had a few days of constant rain and then we had a hot streak of a few days and the water temp jumped to 71F. I knew I'd need to start the SLAM ASAP so I wouldn't have a swamp.

At that point my wife told me she wanted the pool ready ASAP so I turned on the heater, set it to 83F, and did the SLAM. :)
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
308
Dallas, TX
#5
Thanks - that helps understand, I started to ask about a heater, but just didn't think someone would have it on and using it the day they took the cover off. Should make for good swimming.
 

sccm_sysadmin

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2017
195
Greensboro, NC
#11
Nice job!!! Wish I had opened my pool to something that looked like yours instead of my swamp...LOL
It has a mesh cover so frankly I'm astounded it wasn't a nasty green monster. Really happy about it though! Especially since I read a post on here by someone saying that some people's SLAM process can take 80-100 gallons of chlorine, so I'm ecstatic I got these results with 18 gallons.

Now the trick is going to be learning how it reacts to people actually using it, rain adding water, evaporation, different temps, blah blah blah. But for *today* I'm pretty happy with it. :)

As a side note: in the days between uncovering it and starting the SLAM, we probably fished out about 20 toads and a turtle.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#13
Good job! Photo progression is good. Too bad it didn't start as a gooey black swamp as that would be more impressive. :mrgreen:

Now you've done it, so you can stick around and walk someone else through the process. Or several people. Any day now this forum's going to explode with "My pool is green" threads and we'll need lots of help.
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
308
Dallas, TX
#14
Good job! Photo progression is good. Too bad it didn't start as a gooey black swamp as that would be more impressive. :mrgreen:

Now you've done it, so you can stick around and walk someone else through the process. Or several people. Any day now this forum's going to explode with "My pool is green" threads and we'll need lots of help.
I cringed last weekend when I got the emails from Leslie's celebrating "Pool opening" seasons. I'd stop the emails, but still once in a while I need something like acid and there are coupons in those mails, otherwise I rarely go there. I couldn't help but wonder how many people were led down that dark path to the pool store to buy stuff they don't need though. There are people that will be here soon looking for help.